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Wii U

Wii U
A white Wii U console (right) and Wii U GamePad (left).
Also known as Project Café (code-name)
Developer Nintendo IRD, NTD
Manufacturer Nintendo, Foxconn, Mitsumi[2]
Product family Wii
Type Home video game console
Generation Eighth generation
Release date
  • US|CA November 18, 2012
  • EU|AUS November 30, 2012[3]
  • JP December 8, 2012
Other regions: see [note 1]
Retail availability 2012 - present
Introductory price US$299/¥26,250 (Basic Set)
US$349/¥31,500 (Deluxe/Premium Set)
Units shipped Worldwide: 7.29 million
(as of September 30, 2014)[6]
Media
Operating system Wii U system software
Power 75 W power supply
CPU 1.24 GHz Tri-Core IBM PowerPC "Espresso"
Memory 2 GB DDR3
Storage Internal flash memory:
GB (Basic Set) / 32 GB (Deluxe Set)
SD/SDHC card
USB storage device
Display Wii U GamePad (FWVGA)
Graphics 550 MHz AMD Radeon "Latte"
Sound 5.1 Linear PCM, Analog stereo
Controller input

Wii U GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller,

Camera 1.3 Megapixels (Wii U GamePad)
Touchpad Resistive touchscreen (Wii U GamePad)
Connectivity Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0[7]
4 × USB 2.0
Online services
Dimensions Width: 17.2 cm (6.8 in)
Height: 4.6 cm (1.8 in)
Length: 26.9 cm (10.6 in)
Weight 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb)
Best-selling game New Super Mario Bros. U, 4.16 million
(as of March 31, 2014)[8]
Backward
compatibility
Wii, Virtual Console
Predecessor Wii
Website /wiiu.com.nintendowww

The Wii U (Japanese: ウィー ユー Hepburn: Wī Yū, pronounced ) is a home video game console from Nintendo and the successor to the Wii.[9] The system was released on these dates: November 18, 2012, in North America; November 30, 2012, in the PAL regions; and on December 8, 2012, in Japan.[10][11] As the first entry in the eighth generation of video game home consoles,[12][13][14] it directly competes with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.

The Wii U is the first Nintendo console to support high-definition graphics. The Wii U's primary controller is the Wii U GamePad, which features an embedded touchscreen. Each software title may be designed to utilize this touchscreen as being supplemental to the main TV, or as the only screen for Off-TV Play. Each game may support any combination of the GamePad, the Wii Remote, the Wii Nunchuk, the Wii Balance Board, or Nintendo's more classically shaped Wii U Pro Controller.[15]

The system is backward compatible with Wii software; this mode also utilizes Wii-based controllers, and it optionally offers the GamePad as its primary Wii display and motion sensor bar. Nintendo features these online platforms for Wii U and 3DS: the Nintendo eShop for official software and content; and Miiverse, a social networking service which allows Wii U users to share in-game experiences and other content with other players.

Upon its launch, the Wii U received mixed reception, particularly for its processing power in comparison to its competitors, and an initially weak lineup of games. Due to these shortcomings and poor sales, critics began to question the future viability of the console, and some third-party studios (including, most prominently, Electronic Arts) began to downplay their support for the console. However, sales of the console would begin to gain momentum following a price cut in August 2013, and the release of several major first-party titles throughout the remainder of the year and in 2014, including new installments in the Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. franchises—which both set sales records for Wii U games worldwide.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Development 1.1
    • Pre-announcement 1.2
    • Announcement 1.3
    • Miiverse 1.4
    • Nintendo TVii 1.5
      • Other video services 1.5.1
    • Wii U Chat 1.6
    • Wii Street U 1.7
    • Wii Karaoke U 1.8
    • Wii U Chat 1.9
    • Wii Street U 1.10
    • Wii Karaoke U 1.11
  • Network features 2
    • Nintendo Network 2.1
      • Nintendo Network Premium 2.1.1
    • SpotPass 2.2
  • Games 3
    • Launch titles 3.1
    • Off-TV Play 3.2
    • Asymmetric gameplay 3.3
    • Virtual Console 3.4
    • Backward compatibility 3.5
  • Reception 4
  • Sales 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

History

Development

The system was first conceived in 2008,[16] after Nintendo recognized several limitations and challenges with the Wii, such as the general public perception that the system catered primarily for a "casual" audience.[17] With Wii U, Nintendo explicitly wishes to bring "core" gamers back.[18] Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto admitted that the lack of HD and limited network infrastructure for Wii also contributed to the system being regarded in a separate class to its competitors' systems, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[19] It was decided that a new console would have to be made to accommodate significant structural changes.

Ideas on which direction to take for the new console led to a lot of debate within the company, and the project started over from scratch on several occasions.[20] The concept of a touchscreen embedded within the controller was originally inspired by the blue light on the Wii disc tray that illuminates to indicate new messages.[21] Miyamoto and his team wanted to include a small screen to provide game feedback and status messages to players (in similar vein to the VMU for Sega's Dreamcast). Much later in development, this was expanded to a full screen that could display the game being played in its entirety, a concept which was suggested but not financially viable earlier in the project.[21]

Pre-announcement

Initial beliefs about Wii's successor were that the new console would be an "enhanced version" named the "Wii HD." Many journalists speculated that it would have a high-definition video output along with a Blu-ray Disc drive built in with a release sometime in 2011.[22][23] However, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata later stated that he saw "no significant reason" to include HD into the Wii and that such an addition would be better suited for a successor.[24] Shigeru Miyamoto also expressed Nintendo's interest in working with HD graphics but clarified that the company is primarily focused on the gameplay experience.[25] In October 2009, Miyamoto said that they had no concrete plans about a successor yet, but knew that the successor would possibly still feature motion controls and they expected its interface to be "more compact" and cheaper.[26] Iwata also mentioned that the Wii's successor might be 3D-compatible but concluded that the adoption rates of 3D televisions should increase to at least 30% first.[27]

In 2010, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé commented that he felt "confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it" and declared that a successor would not be launched in the near future.[28] At the E3 2010 presentation, Iwata revealed to the BBC that they would begin announcing a new console once Nintendo ran "out of ideas with the current hardware and cannot give users any more meaningful surprises with the technology [they had]".[29] Later, at an investor's meeting, he disclosed that they were "of course studying and developing the next console to Wii", but they were simultaneously keeping its concepts secret because it was "really important for [his] business to positively surprise people."[30] Fils-Aimé commented in a CNN article and claimed that Nintendo's next home console would not likely feature stereoscopic 3D, based on the 3D technology Nintendo had experimented with.[31]

In April 2011, an uncredited source indicated that Nintendo was planning on unveiling the successor to the Wii during E3 2011, codenamed Project Café,[9] that would be capable of gameplay in HD resolutions[32][33] and would be backward compatible with Wii software.[34] It was also rumored that the console would feature an all new controller with a built in high-resolution screen.[35] The origin of the rumor for the codename (and many other details) was French technology publication 01net.[36] 01net had previously revealed the technical specifications of Sony's PlayStation Vita before it was announced.[37] The new machine was believed twice as powerful as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[34][38]

Many claims focused on the new controller, which would feature dual analog sticks, a standard D-pad, two bumpers, two triggers and "possibly more".[35][39] IGN compared the functionality of the new controller to that of a GameCube controller.[9] 01net claimed the controller would be "a touch tablet controller, with moderate graphic output", comparing the controller to an iPad with buttons. They also added that there would be a front-facing camera on the controller.[40] Supposedly, the controller would also feature six-axis motion controls that outperform a PlayStation Move motion controller in terms of fidelity,[41] as well as a built-in sensor bar.[40] The new controller features a 6.2-inch touchscreen.[42] 01net took the rumor a step further and claimed that the touchscreen would be single-touch.[40] Sources from CVG claimed that the controller featured a high-resolution screen.[35] IGN claimed that the controller would allow players to stream entire games to the controller from the console,[9] and that the console itself "is likely to resemble a modernized version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)."[43]

According to Edge, software developer THQ's president Brian Farrell allegedly told investors: "We don't expect new hardware any time soon from either Microsoft or Sony. It's different on Nintendo – we'll let them announce their new hardware".[41]

Announcement

Wii U debut at E3 2011
The controller prototype originally shown at E3 2011.
A demonstration of the various uses of the Wii U's new controller.

On April 25, 2011, Nintendo released a statement officially announcing a system to succeed the Wii. They simultaneously announced that it would be released during 2012, and that playable console units would be present at E3 2011 (June 7–9).[44] Speaking at an investor's conference, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata stated the Wii successor would "offer something new for home game systems."[45] Iwata also confirmed that the successor to the Wii would not launch in the fiscal year of 2012, meaning that it would release after April 2012.[46] On May 4, 2011, Kotaku reported that Project Café would have 8 GB of flash-based memory on board, with the assumed purpose of storing game saves. The game discs used by the console were said to be of a proprietary format, and to hold up to 25 GB of data, which is similar to the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray Disc.[47] In early June, Nikkei issued a report confirming earlier rumors that the new console would feature a controller with a 6 inch touchscreen that would give tablet-like controls to games, as well as a rechargeable battery and a camera. Nikkei said the system would be released in mid-2012.[48]

embedded with IC chips and are typically used to buy train or bus tickets as well as make purchases at convenience stores.ii U Will Take Digital Money in Japan|url=http://kotaku.com/the-wii-u-will-take-digital-money-in-japan-1607081215|website=http://kotaku.com|publisher=Kotaku|accessdate=July 19, 2014}}ur. In the future, it will be possible to attach Miiverse posts to each review.[49]

Miiverse

Miiverse (portmanteau of "Mii" and "Universe") is an integrated social networking service, which allows players to interact and share their experiences through their own Mii characters. Miiverse allows users to seamlessly share accomplishments, comments hand written and game screenshots notes with other users. Select games are integrated with Miiverse, where social interactions can also occur within the game. Miiverse is moderated through software filtering as well as a human resource team in order to ensure that the content shared by users is appropriate and that no spoilers are shared. In order to facilitate this, it was stated that comments posted could take up to 30 minutes to appear on Miiverse.[50] On April 25, 2013, Miiverse also became available on web browsers for internet-enabled smartphone, tablet and PC devices.[51] It later became available for the Nintendo 3DS in December 2013. Nintendo are also planning to release a specialized Miiverse app for smartphone and tablet devices in the future. === Internet Browser === Internet Browser allows users to browse the web on the Wii U GamePad and/or the television screen. It functions as a multitasking application on the Wii U, so it can be used while another game or application is suspended in the background.[52] The browser is primarily controlled using the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen, or with the analog stick to scroll through web pages and the D-pad to cycle through links on the page, similar to using a keyboard. It can play HTML 5 video and audio in websites such as YouTube and various other social media.[53] The user can choose to hide the browser's view on the TV screen for privacy, which contains presentation effects such as the opening of stage curtains.[54] The user can also choose between the Google and Yahoo! search engines. There is a text wrap option to automatically wrap text to the width of the screen at different zoom levels. Users can also create bookmarks, with each user having its own set of personal bookmarks. The browser supports up to six tabs simultaneously.[55] Up to 32 pages can be stored into the browser's history before the older items start being replaced.

Nintendo TVii

Nintendo TVii is a free television based service which allows users to find programs on Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and on their cable network. Nintendo TVii also allows users to control their TiVo DVR through the Wii U.[56] Users are then able to select the source of the program they wish to watch and watch it on their television or on the Wii U GamePad.[57] By default, the GamePad screen shows information on the show currently being watched. This information includes reviews, screenshots, cast lists, trailers, and other general information about the show provided by WorldHeritage, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, as well as other individual source services. Nintendo TVii also has a dedicated sports section where the user can view player positions and highlights of the match updated in real-time. Each user has its own personalized settings on Nintendo TVii, such as their preferences, favorite shows and sports teams, personal Mii and social network account integration. Users can then interact with their friends and the community by sharing and commenting on reactions to live moments on the current show, on social networks such as Miiverse, Facebook, and Twitter, through the GamePad while they watch their show on the television screen. The service is currently only available in selected regions. Nintendo TVii was made available with the Wii U's release in Japan on December 8, 2012.[58] It was released in North America on December 20, 2012[59] and was scheduled to be released in Europe sometime in 2013,[60] but was never fulfilled. Nintendo UK had since issued an apology and stated to expect further announcements in the "near future".[61] ==== Other video services ==== Nintendo is also working with YouTube, LoveFilm (United Kingdom and Ireland only), Nico Nico Douga and YNN! (Japan only) to bring streaming movie and television content to the Wii U. Nintendo had initially delayed the deployment of some media capabilities for the Wii U as it delayed its online infrastructure. Late in the launch day, a firmware update deployed the Netflix app.[62] Then, access to the Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube apps gradually became active later in the launch week. === Wii U Chat ===

Wii U Chat is Nintendo's online video chat solution, powered by the Nintendo Network. The service allows the users to use the Wii U GamePad's front-facing camera to video chat with registered friends. While video chatting, only the Wii U GamePad is essentially needed, since the application is compatible with Off-TV Play. Users can draw pictures on the GamePad, on top of the video chat display.7,2409681,00.asp|title=Nintendo TVii Streams Video, DVR, Live TV to Wii U|work=PCMAG|accessdate=October 13, 2014}} Users are then able to select the source of the program they wish to watch and watch it on their television or on the Wii U GamePad.[63] By default, the GamePad screen shows information on the show currently being watched. This information includes reviews, screenshots, cast lists, trailers, and other general information about the show provided by WorldHeritage, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, as well as other individual source services. Nintendo TVii also has a dedicated sports section where the user can view player positions and highlights of the match updated in real-time.

Each user has its own personalized settings on Nintendo TVii, such as their preferences, favorite shows and sports teams, personal Mii and social network account integration. Users can then interact with their friends and the community by sharing and commenting on reactions to live moments on the current show, on social networks such as Miiverse, Facebook, and Twitter, through the GamePad while they watch their show on the television screen.

The service is currently only available in selected regions. Nintendo TVii was made available with the Wii U's release in Japan on December 8, 2012.[64] It was released in North America on December 20, 2012[65] and was scheduled to be released in Europe sometime in 2013,[66] but was never fulfilled. Nintendo UK had since issued an apology and stated to expect further announcements in the "near future".[67]

Other video services

Nintendo is also working with YouTube, LoveFilm (United Kingdom and Ireland only), Nico Nico Douga and YNN! (Japan only) to bring streaming movie and television content to the Wii U. Nintendo had initially delayed the deployment of some media capabilities for the Wii U as it delayed its online infrastructure. Late in the launch day, a firmware update deployed the Netflix app.[68] Then, access to the Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube apps gradually became active later in the launch week.

Wii U Chat

Wii U Chat is Nintendo's online video chat solution, powered by the Nintendo Network. The service allows the users to use the Wii U GamePad's front-facing camera to video chat with registered friends. While video chatting, only the Wii U GamePad is essentially needed, since the application is compatible with Off-TV Play. Users can draw pictures on the GamePad, on top of the video chat display.[69] If there is a game or another application already running, the GamePad's HOME button ring will flash indicating that there is an incoming call.

Wii Street U

The Wii Street U logo

Wii Street U is a built-in map application developed by Nintendo and Google for the Wii U. During a Nintendo Direct, Satoru Iwata revealed that Google Maps will be integrated with the panorama feature of the Wii U. The player can choose any place from around the globe to look at, use the street view feature and can use the Wii U GamePad.

This application was available on Wii U eShop for free, until October 31, 2013.

Wii Karaoke U

The Wii Karaoke U logo

Wii Karaoke U is a built-in karaoke app developed by Nintendo and Joysound for the Wii U. It licenses the Joysound online song library from Japanese karaoke service provider Xing. The game can use both the Wii U GamePad's microphone and any universal USB microphone connected to the Wii U console.

The game requires an Internet connection for players to access new songs to download. Buying tickets for songs from the Nintendo eShop, players rent the songs they want to sing for a limited period (from 24 hours to up to 90 days) from Joysounds's song library. Choosing a stage to perform on, players are able to select their own Mii characters to represent themselves. Players are also able to adjust options such as echo, key and speed of the song, and other players can use their Wii Remotes to accompany the singer by playing instruments such as cymbals and maracas. The game includes a lesson mode which trains and quizzes players on tone and rhythm.

It was released as a free app, titled Wii Karaoke U by Joysound, on the Nintendo eShop in Europe, on October 4, 2013.[70]intendo UK had since issued an apology and stated to expect further announcements in the "near future".[71] ==== Other video services ==== Nintendo is also working with YouTube, LoveFilm (United Kingdom and Ireland only), Nico Nico Douga and YNN! (Japan only) to bring streaming movie and television content to the Wii U. Nintendo had initially delayed the deployment of some media capabilities for the Wii U as it delayed its online infrastructure. Late in the launch day, a firmware update deployed the Netflix app.[72] Then, access to the Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube apps gradually became active later in the launch week.

Wii U Chat

Wii U Chat is Nintendo's online video chat solution, powered by the Nintendo Network. The service allows the users to use the Wii U GamePad's front-facing camera to video chat with registered friends. While video chatting, only the Wii U GamePad is essentially needed, since the application is compatible with Off-TV Play. Users can draw pictures on the GamePad, on top of the video chat display.[73] If there is a game or another application already running, the GamePad's HOME button ring will flash indicating that there is an incoming call. === Wii Street U ===

The Wii Street U logo

Wii Street U is a built-in map application developed by Nintendo and Google for the Wii U. During a Nintendo Direct, Satoru Iwata revealed that Google Maps will be integrated with the panorama feature of the Wii U. The player can choose any place from around the globe to look at, use the street view feature and can use the Wii U GamePad.ication already running, the GamePad's HOME button ring will flash indicating that there is an incoming call.

Wii Street U

The Wii Street U logo

Wii Street U is a built-in map application developed by Nintendo and Google for the Wii U. During a Nintendo Direct, Satoru Iwata revealed that Google Maps will be integrated with the panorama feature of the Wii U. The player can choose any place from around the globe to look at, use the street view feature and can use the Wii U GamePad.

This application was available on Wii U eShop for free, until October 31, 2013.

Wii Karaoke U

The Wii Karaoke U logo

Wii Karaoke U is a built-in karaoke app developed by Nintendo and Joysound for the Wii U. It licenses the Joysound online song library from Japanese karaoke service provider Xing. The game can use both the Wii U GamePad's microphone and any universal USB microphone connected to the Wii U console.

The game requires an Internet connection for players to access new songs to download. Buying tickets for songs from the Nintendo eShop, players rent the songs they want to sing for a limited period (from 24 hours to up to 90 days) from Joysounds's song library. Choosing a stage to perform on, players are able to select their own Mii characters to represent themselves. Players are also able to adjust options such as echo, key and speed of the song, and other players can use their Wii Remotes to accompany the singer by playing instruments such as cymbals and maracas. The game includes a lesson mode which trains and quizzes players on tone and rhythm.

It was released as a free app, titled Wii Karaoke U by Joysound, on the Nintendo eShop in Europe, on October 4, 2013.[70]

Network features

Nintendo Network

Nintendo Network, Wii U's primary online service.

Nintendo Network is Nintendo's unified network infrastructure similar to the Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live, and succeeds the previous Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. The Wii U is the second system to support the new network infrastructure, alongside the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo Network provides the means for online multiplayer and other online interactions such as leaderboards and communication, as well as digital media delivery through digital distribution. The Wii U uses a user account system much like its competitors, denominated Nintendo Network ID. Each Wii U system can contain up to twelve user accounts and Nintendo Network IDs.[74] The user account system on the Wii U replaces the previous friend code model that was used on the original Wii, but does not eliminate the use of friend codes on Wii games using the Wii Mode.

Nintendo Network Premium

Nintendo Network Premium (Deluxe Digital Promotion in North America) is a loyalty program similar to PlayStation Plus. Consumers who purchase the Premium (WW) / Deluxe (US) Wii U will receive a subscription to this service which enable Wii U owners to receive points for each digital software purchase. Members who buy games and applications through the Wii U's Nintendo eShop will receive ten percent of the price back in the form of points, which can subsequently be put towards future online purchases on the Nintendo eShop, both on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The promotion is currently planned through December 2014.

SpotPass

Similar to Nintendo 3DS's more distinctly mobile SpotPass functionality, the SpotPass feature is an online utility which is built into the Wii U console. It allows the Wii U to automatically download available content via Wi-Fi in the background even when the Wii U is already running an application, or powered off in sleep mode. Content that can be downloaded via SpotPass include full game and application downloads, firmware updates, patches, and specific in-game content. It can be customized to fit the user's preferences, including opting it out altogether for selected software. Content currently being downloaded can be viewed in the Download Manager, accessed via the Wii U's Home Menu.

Games

An opened Wii U Optical Disc case, without its paper cover and instructions. The eco-friendly design uses less plastic, reducing manufacturing waste. The Recycle logo does not appear on European or Japanese cases. These cases are identical to common Wii cases made for Nintendo-published titles released since circa 2010, save for having Nintendo's own logo embossed above the disc area instead of Wii's logo.

Retail copies of games are supplied on proprietary optical discs called Wii U Optical Discs, which are packaged in keep cases with simple instructions. In Europe, retail boxes have a triangle at the bottom corner of the paper sleeve-insert side. The triangle is color-coded to identify the region for which the title is intended and which manual languages are included. Unlike with previous Nintendo consoles, the complete software manual is only available digitally via the system's Home Menu. Retail and download-only games are also available for download on the Nintendo eShop. The console is region locked (software purchased in a region can be only played on that region's hardware). New games in Nintendo's flagship franchises (including Super Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda), as well as several Wii series games (including Wii Sports Club, Wii Fit U and Wii Party U) have been released, in addition to many original titles and third-party-developed games. Nintendo has received third-party support from companies such as Ubisoft, Sega, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Activision Blizzard and Capcom, and various independent developers such as Two Tribes. A total of 32.28 million Wii U games have been sold worldwide as of March 31, 2014,[75] with six titles surpassing the million-unit mark. The highest selling game is New Super Mario Bros. U at 4.16 million units, followed by Nintendo Land at 3.09 million units[76] and Mario Kart 8 at 2.82 million units. Mario Kart 8 is the fastest selling Wii U game as of June 30, 2014.[77]

Launch titles

The Wii U was launched with 23 games in North America,[78] 26 games in Europe, 25 games in Australia, and 11 games in Japan on December 8, 2012. Some download-only games were also available on launch day for the Wii U in North America, Europe, and Australia, via Nintendo eShop. An additional 30 games were announced for release during the system's launch window, which includes the three months after the system's launch date.

Key:

Off-TV Play

The Off-TV Play feature lets the user play games only on the Wii U GamePad controller using its embedded touchscreen, without the need for the television to be powered on. This feature is available on certain games only. Due to a system update, "Wii Mode" can be played off-TV. However, regular Wii remotes and accessories need to be used to control the software.

Asymmetric gameplay

Asymmetric gameplay is a form of multiplayer in video games in which multiple players can play the same game simultaneously in different ways and rules. For example, one player may play a game with different gameplay mechanics and rules on the Wii U GamePad's screen while the rest of the players play the same game with different rules on the television screen.[79] This feature is a major component of various Wii U games such as Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U.

Dual screen multiplayer mode is also a unique feature of the Wii U. It functions similarly to a traditional split screen multiplayer mode without the need for an actual split screen. The Wii U GamePad and the TV can function as two separate screens, offering each player a full screen experience. Compared to Ad-hoc multiplayer, dual screen multiplayer is rendered on the same console and does not require two independent systems and multiple copies of the game.

Virtual Console

In January 2013, Nintendo announced that NES and Super NES titles would be made available for the Virtual Console service on the Wii U in April 2013 and would include the option to use Off-TV Play on the Wii U GamePad and the ability to post on Miiverse dedicated communities.[80] Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 titles will also be made available at a later date.[81] On March 26, 2014, Game Boy Advance titles were confirmed and started to appear on the eShop the following month.[82]

Backward compatibility

The Wii U is compatible with most Wii games, both on disc and download. Wii accessories such as the Wii Remote (Plus), Wii Nunchuk, and the Wii Balance Board also remain compatible.[83] It is also possible to move most downloaded software and save files from the Wii to the Wii U.[84] While original Wii games are playable on the Wii U console, they cannot be played on the Wii U GamePad.[85] However, the fourth version of the system software allows players to see Wii gameplay on the GamePad screen playing. The update also allowed for Wii Remotes to treat the GamePad as the default wireless sensor when in this mode.

Regardless of the Wii's general compatibility with GameCube games, the Wii U is not directly compatible with GameCube discs or accessories, with the exception of controllers via an accessory.[86] Nintendo has stated a general intention to eventually provision the Nintendo eShop with GameCube games in the form of Virtual Console titles,[87] but that it has no such official announcement yet.[88]

Reception

John Teti of The A.V. Club's Gameological Society considers the Wii U a compelling video game system which lacks focus, citing Nintendo Land as "ideas act[ing] in service of the technology" simply to show off features of the console.[89] Ben Gilbert of Engadget states that Nintendo delivers on its promise of releasing "a modern HD gaming console" but notes that "there are also some major missteps and half-baked ideas: a befuddling Friends List / Miiverse connection, a complete lack of many system-wide console standards (group chat, achievements, the ability to play non-game disc-based media) and a game controller that lasts only 3.5 hours", and stated that he could not give a complete assessment of the console with online components such as Nintendo TVii missing at launch time.[90] Similarly, TechRadar praised the system's GamePad functionality and HD graphics, but criticized the limited battery power for the GamePad, and the insufficient number of top-tier game titles available during the launch period.[91] Some industry figures do not consider the Wii U as an eighth-generation console,[92] with many citing the hardware's processing speed as the reason.[93][94] However, Reggie Fils-Aimé has noted that similar comments were made in 2006 when the original Wii first launched.[95] By May 2013, Electronic Arts announced that it was reducing support for the console and had no games in development for it at the time,[96] but then partially reconsidered this decision a few days later, with EA's CFO announcing that "We are building titles for the Nintendo console, but not anywhere near as many as we are for Playstation or Xbox".[97] At E3 2013, Ubisoft revealed that they were not going to make any more exclusives for the Wii U until sales of the console improved,[98] though they stated shortly after that they are still "big supporters" of the Wii U, and plan to release as many Wii U games in 2013 as they did in 2012.[99] In July 2013, Bethesda Softworks has announced that they had no games in development for the Wii U, with Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines explaining the decision: "It depends on the games that we are making and how we think it aligns with that console, and how the hardware aligns with the other stuff we are making".[100] This explanation was later refined to being largely due to the hardware.[101] Contrarily, Activision has stated that they will "do everything they can" to support the system and would continue to develop games for it.[102] Following the launch of other eighth-generation consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in November 2013, it has been suggested by some critics that the Wii U would continue to struggle as it lacked the third-party developer support of its rivals.[103][104] However, New York Times writer Chris Suellentrop stated that the Wii U was the only new console with a video game worth playing, citing Super Mario 3D World as "the best Mario game in years". Despite the praise, he noted that "one great game won't save a console", and although other good games exist on the Wii U, he admitted that its lineup "is still pretty thin".[105] Time writer Matt Peckham said that the Wii U was the system of choice to pick up during that Christmas season, praising the console's first-party and indie games lineup, affordable price, Off-TV Play, absence of annual subscription fees, backwards-compatibility and media capabilities. However, he noted that the system still needs a new price cut and an improved first and third-party software lineup.[106] CNET also noted that the Wii U had a better lineup of games and lower price in comparison to its competitors, mainly due to its one-year head start.[107]

Sales

Life-to-date number of hardware and software units shipped, in millions
Date Japan Americas Other Total
Hardware Software Hardware Software Hardware Software Hardware Software
2012-12-31[108] 0.83 1.48 1.32 6.40 0.90 3.82 3.06 11.69
2013-03-31[109] 0.92 1.73 1.52 7.28 1.01 4.40 3.45 13.42
2013-06-30[110] 1.01 1.91 1.58 7.80 1.02 4.73 3.61 14.44
2013-09-30[111] 1.15 2.57 1.75 10.97 1.01 6.17 3.91 19.71
2013-12-31[112] 1.75 5.21 2.61 15.23 1.49 8.94 5.86 29.37
2014-03-31[75] 1.81 5.62 2.81 16.98 1.56 9.67 6.17 32.28
2014-06-30[113] 1.87 6.43 3.08 19.28 1.73 10.95 6.68 36.67
2014-09-30[6] 1.97 6.96 3.43 22.58 1.88 12.13 7.29 41.67

As of September 30, 2014, Nintendo reports 7.29 million console units and 41.67 million software units have been shipped worldwide.[6] During its first week of release in the United States, Nintendo sold its entire allotment of over 400,000 Wii U units[114] and sold a total of 425,000 units for the month of November, according to the NPD Group.[115] It also sold over 40,000 consoles in the UK in its first weekend.[116] In Japan, over 600,000 Wii U units were sold during December 2012.[117] According to the NPD Group, nearly 890,000 Nintendo Wii U units were sold in the United States after 41 days on the market. [118] From the Wii U's launch till December 31, 2013, Nintendo reported that 3.06 million consoles and 11.69 million software units had been shipped worldwide.[111] In January 2013, Nintendo sold 57,000 Wii U units in the US.[119] By comparison, the original Wii sold 435,000 in January 2007, also two months after launch.[120] Initial sales numbers in the US and other territories were lower than expected, resulting in Nintendo cutting sales projections for fiscal year 2013 by 17 percent, from 5.5 million to 4 million;[121] the system actually ended up selling 3.5 million units.[122] During the first quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 0.39 million consoles and 1.73 million software units were shipped worldwide.[109] From March to June 2013 the system sold approximately 160,000 units, which was down 51 percent from the three months prior.[123] During the second quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 0.16 million consoles and 1.03 million software units were shipped worldwide.[110] At the end of July 2013, Walmart subsidiary Asda, the second-largest supermarket chain in the UK, confirmed that they had no plans to stock the Wii U, but would still stock games "on a title by title merit basis".[124] Despite this, many specialist retailers continued to emphasize their support, with Game CEO Martyn Gibbs saying "We fully support all Nintendo products, including Wii U."[125] Following the system's $50 price cut and the release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD on September 20, Wii U sales in North America saw a 200 percent rise over August.[126] From July to September 2013, the system sold approximately 300,000 units, which was up 87 per cent from the three months prior. Despite only having sold 460,000 consoles since April, Nintendo has maintained its 9 million Wii U sales forecast for the fiscal year through March 2014. Wii U software showed improvement in the Q2 period, reaching 5.27 million units - a 400 per cent jump on the previous quarter. Nintendo credited the software growth to key first-party releases such as Pikmin 3 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.[127] During the third quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 0.3 million consoles and 5.27 million software units were shipped worldwide.[111] In October 2013, online retailer Play.com announced that its Wii U sales saw a 75 per cent sales increase. The company also predicted that the Wii U would be more popular than its competition, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, amongst children during the holiday season.[128] Following the release of Wii Party U on October 31 in Japan, weekly Wii U sales spiked to 38,802 units sold.[129] On November 29, 2013, Nintendo of France deputy general manager Philippe Lavoué announced that the Wii U had sold approximately 175,000 units in France since launch.[130] During the first two weeks of December, the Wii U was the top performing home console in Japan, with 123,665 units sold.[131] After one year in the market, the Wii U had sold approximately 150,000 units in the United Kingdom.[132] According to the NPD Group, Wii U sales in November increased by 340 percent over sales in October in North America, selling approximately 220,700 units sold in that month.[133] According to several publications, including NPD Group figures, December 2013, was the best-selling Wii U month in the US since its launch, selling around 481,000 units.[134] Independent estimates put the number of Wii U consoles sold by the end of 2013 between 4.5 and 5.2 million.[135] During the fourth quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 1.95 million consoles and 9.96 million software units were shipped worldwide.[112] In January 2014, citing lower-than-expected sales during the 2013 holiday season, Satoru Iwata announced that Wii U sales forecasts for fiscal year 2014 had been cut from 9 million units to 2.8 million.[136] In light of this announcement, the Wii U's long-term viability, and its ability to compete with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, have been called into question.[137] In February 2014, Nintendo revealed that the Wii U had improved about 180% in year-over-year sales in the United States due to the launch of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which sold 130,000 copies, making it the number four best-selling SKU for the month.[138] By February 26, Wii U sales had surpassed those of the Xbox 360 in Japan.[139] In March 2014, Nintendo sold just over 70,000 Wii U units, tracking it down 50% less than the GameCube and 90% less than the Wii during equivalent time periods.[140] During the month, total worldwide sales of the PlayStation 4 surpassed those of the Wii U.[141] During the first quarter of 2014, Nintendo reported that 310,000 consoles and 2.91 million software units were shipped worldwide.[75] During an annual investors' meeting, Satoru Iwata revealed Nintendo's projection of 3.6 million Wii U unit sales during the fiscal year of March 2014 (March 2014) to March 2015 (March 2015).[142] On May 22, 2014, Nintendo France announced that sales were 50% higher compared to the last in the region, and that lifetime sales of the Wii U in France were at 340,000 units.[143] With Mario Kart 8 being Nintendo's biggest game launch in all of Wii U history to date,[144] Wii U console sales reportedly increased by 666% in the United Kingdom, with the Mario Kart 8 console bundle representing 82% of the region's Wii U console sales for the week.[145] NPD Group reported that in the United States, when comparing the month of June 2013 to the same month in 2014, Wii U software sales were up 373% and console sales were up 233% (140,000 units).[146] The record would be surpassed in November 2014 by Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which sold 490,000 copies in the United States during its first three days of availability.[147]

Notes

  1. ^ Release date in other regions
    • ME November 29, 2012[4]
    • SA November 29, 2012[4]
    • BR November 26, 2013[5]

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External links

  • Official North American Wii U website (English)
  • Official European Wii U website (English)
  • Official Australian Wii U website (English)
  • Official Wii U website (Japanese)
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