Wii U: Everything We Know

Discussion in 'Nintendo' started by Prime, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Prime

    Prime Member

    The Wii U will be released sometime this year making it the first 8th generation console to arrive. Details of the system have been scarce but in this thread I'll try to include what we (sort of) know about the Wii U:


    This is the console, basically is a Wii with rounded edges and a little bit larger. For some reason, the Wii U will only be positioned horizontally unlike its predecessor. You have your eject, power and sync buttons as well an SD card slot when you open that little lid.

    It will also accept:

    12 cm proprietary high-density optical disc
    12 cm Wii Optical Disc (backwards compatible with all Wii games)

    Let's look at the back of the console:

    This is from E3 2011, don't know if it will change when the final product arrives.

    Photo from a right angle:


    As you can see, it is larger than the original Wii.

    Now the controller:


    From back:

    It has a 6.2 inch (15.7 cm) screen with:
    [*]3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope
    [*]Front-facing camera
    [*]IR sensor strip
    [*]854×480 16:9 resistive touchscreen
    [*]Two circle pads and one D-pad
    [*]Select, Start, Home, and Power buttons
    [*]Headphone jack
    [*]A/B/X/Y face buttons, L/R bumper buttons, and ZL/ZR trigger buttons
    [*]Controller sync button
    [*]Built-in rechargeable battery pack
    An early example of how we will use the system:


    We talked about the outside of the Wii U but, what about the inside?

    Nintendo (as always) have been very vague about the specs of the console. What we certainly do know as confirmed by IBM http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/photo/34681.wss

    Is that the CPU will be based on the Power series (not Power PC). Engadget made a little digging http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/07/ibm-puts-watsons-brains-in-nintendo-wii-u/

    And found out that: "Within the Wii U there's a 45nm custom chip with "a lot" of embedded DRAM (shown above). It's a silicon on insulator design and packs the same processor technology found in Watson, the supercomputer"



    Now, Watson has Power7 processors, that's the believed custom CPU the Wii U will have, based on the Power7 technology.

    If you don't know what a CPU does well, it basically does all the mathematical calculations in the console.

    For example, a good CPU on a console will display more polygons, have better AI, better physics and even some graphical enhancements. If the Wii U has this type of CPU, we will be able to play true HD games at 60FPS!!!

    Now let's talk about the GPU:

    It's a custom designed AMD Radeon HD similar to the R770 chip.

    To give you an idea, this is the R770 tech demo:

    This is a PC running Skyrim on those rumored specs:

    Obviously Nintendo released realtime demos to show just a glimpse of the graphics:

    ^That is the Japanese Garden Demo. That same demo was on the show floor at E3 and it had better graphics than the above video they showed on the conference:
    This is the complete "garden" realtime demo:

    Honestly, aside from the attention to detail and all that, I was really blown away by the bird's animation. I've never seen a bird animate like that on a console or PC.

    Nintendo also showed a realtime Zelda demo:


    Remember the Gamecube Zelda demo?

    This is for Wii U:

    What do you think? Do they look better than the Radeon 770 demo and Wii U based Skyrim PC gameplay?

    There was another demo, the "Tokyo Streets Demo"
    that was only showed to a small group of journalists. That demo "blew away" all of the other demos in graphics. Sadly, no video has been released or leaked yet... perhaps on CES?

    Third party developers are also on board with Wii U with confirmed games:

    So, it sounds promising... just like the Gamecube did 10 years ago... hope Wii U have a different fate than the purple lunchbox.
  2. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member Moderator

    I think the Zelda video looks the best of the bunch. You know the FMV video at the beginning of Super Smash Bros Brawl? The in-game feed of Zelda Wii U looks at least as good as that.
  3. Prime

    Prime Member

    Really? The FMVs in SSBB are basically the same character models as the in-game but with self-shadowing. Those character models (in the FMVs) don't have any kind of bump mapping or normal mapping while the Zelda demo is filled with those. Also, Link from the Zelda demo is made of much more polygons.

    Link in SSBB:


    Link Wii U:

  4. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member Moderator

    Sorry, I was referring to the SSBM intro from Gamecube. There's one scene there with Link playing his Ocarina standing in between Shiek and Zelda. Actually, going back and watching it on Youtube I realize it's not as fantastic as I once thought it was. Back in the day, it looked cool.
  5. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    Y'know what I know about the WiiU?

    I know that I want one.

    I'm trying to think of the stuff we know has been confirmed. I think it's close to an iron-clad guarantee that Pikmin 3 will make the launch window. But the direction for the big three is anyone's guess (although Zelda will most likely utilize motion controls).

    Then there's third parties with Ninja Gaiden 3, Ghost Recon, Killer Freaks, Assassin's Creed, etc. I think it's going to be very interesting to see what third parties do. At first, they'll port (par for the launch course, at this point). But then what? I just don't see FPS quite being the dominant force that it was this gen (in the same way that sandbox games reached their apex last gen). What's going to be the trend, and will the U fit in with it?
  6. Prime

    Prime Member

    I think the new popular genre could be MMORPG.
  7. Prime

    Prime Member


    Do you think the Wii U will have the best launch titles ever for a console?
  8. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    Define "best," I guess. It's probably impossible for it to have anything as important as Super Mario 64. I use Mario as an example, since we just got Zelda (meaning it's going to be awhile before the next console iteration), and Metroid seems to be a series between teams (Retro is most likely working on something else; Project M's biggest compliment was a third party now working on their own titles). That leaves Mario as the most likely mascot title to launch, and I simply don't see how they can top what SM64 did.

    As for third parties, it seems that this will definitely be their best showing for a Nintendo launch console in a very long time.
  9. Prime

    Prime Member

    Well yeah, in terms of third party. Super Mario 64 is in my opinion the best launch title ever, I don't think Nintendo is going to release a really high caliber game at launch...

    But on the front page there is something really interesting about Retro Studios...

    Who knows.
  10. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member Moderator

    Well, this would seem like an ideal lineup for my tastes:

    Pikmin 3
    Miyamoto New IP demonstrating Wii U capabilities
    Retro Studios latest project, maybe reviving Star Fox
    Monolith Soft JRPG

    An ideal E3 would have them show all those games plus a look ahead to:
    Mario teams' next game after Mario Galaxy series
    Next Zelda with new art style and gameplay
    Sequel to Metroid Other M, collaboration with Kojima
    tons of 3DS RPGs and Adventure Games
  11. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member Moderator

    You have me frothing at the mouth. Customizable parts? First Space Sim ever done by Nintendo? Open space that encourages exploration of large city environments? [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Also, in the same vein as what you were saying that EAD Tokyo should move on from Galaxy I was wondering, what if the EAD Zelda team and EAD Galaxy team switched places? Let Aonuma try out Mario and Koizumi try out Zelda. Under the supervision of Miyamoto of course.
  12. Aki

    Aki Well-Known Member

    Wii U is looking like it's going to be my favorite system ever. The Zelda tech demo just sealed the deal for me. As soon as I saw that I knew that I was going to like this going more than any other and that I firmly believe in nintendo's direction. Also 3DS shaped up really nicely so hopefully that translates to Wii U starting up nicely.
  13. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    All this speculation is killing me. When, E3, WHEN!?

    Oh yeah, June 5-7.
  14. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    I don't know why, but for some reason this comic just popped into my head.

  15. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest


    I love Nedroid. It's been a little lackluster recently, but it used to be such gold.
  16. Prime

    Prime Member

    OMG OMG OMG... Thank you Menashe!!!

  17. Prime

    Prime Member

    Now, some Nintendo haters are questioning if this demo is in real time [​IMG] (yes I know)

    But what do you think?

    Is this demo going to silenced the phrase "Wii U is not next gen"?
  18. DarkDepths

    DarkDepths Your friendly neighbourhood robot overlord

    I had always been under the impression that it was actual video, and not being rendered in real-time. Even back when we hadn't seen it, but had been told about it by those who did, I was left with that impression. After watching it, I still have that impression.

    If I'm wrong, I guess that just means Nintendo pulled off something quite incredible, and frankly, I have no qualms about being wrong.
  19. Prime

    Prime Member

    Well, journalists who tried this demo on E3 2011, said that it "blew away" graphically all of the other demos. Either those journalists don't know the difference between a real life video or they actually saw photorealistic polygons in front of them.

    Who knows [​IMG]
  20. DarkDepths

    DarkDepths Your friendly neighbourhood robot overlord

    From IGN at last years E3:

    "The second major tech demonstration featured live footage of Japan, with a camera moving down a crowded street, hovering above vehicles."

    That leads me to conclude that it was video.
  21. Prime

    Prime Member

    Don't remember reading that...

    "live footage"? Why just they didn't say "recorded footage". I mean, were they saying that a car in Japan was transmitting "live footage" at the same so they could demoed this thing? That's what I understand by "live footage".

    Still, there's no definitive answer... Supposedly its a car just cruising on the streets of Tokyo, right? Why there's no shadow of that car? It's funny because some people are saying it's magic...

  22. DarkDepths

    DarkDepths Your friendly neighbourhood robot overlord

    You can look it up, I took the quote directly from IGN. Secondly, if you're going to ask why there is no shadow of the car, you might as well ask "why is there no car?!"

    I'm not entirely sure how that was done, myself. TERMINATOR posted on IGN that they used Stereoscopic cameras to record the footage. It's also possible that they just did some editing afterwards to clean it up. Either way, I'm quite sure that it is video.
  23. Prime

    Prime Member

    Oh no, I was just saying that I didn't remember someone mentioning it was a video.

    And this "terminator" dude... is he an expert or something?
  24. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    Term knows his stuff. He's never steered me wrong. Wish I knew where he got some of his info...
  25. Prime

    Prime Member


    Wii U final dev kits "more powerful than anticipated"

    "The final Wii U dev kits are out to Third Party developers but with an important revision. When the Wii U Alpha kits were first sent out during and before E3 of last year, the GPU inside them was based on an AMD HD 4770-4850 and had to be underclocked because of overheating.

    It seems that Nintendo has given the final dev kits more power and a different architecture to prevent overheating. This comes from a trusted source who has been posting information on NeoGAF and B3D for the past several months. Others have confirmed that this is true as well. Here is the quote":

    "Final devkits are out, and rumor has it they differ quite a bit from earlier kits. Supposedly more powerful than anticipated, too."

    "The GPU in the Alpha dev kits was already at least 2x the power of the Xbox 360 even while being underclocked. It will be nice to see some games running on the Wii U now that the final specs are ready to go. A full powered GPU to go along with less heat consumption to me only means that they shrunk the die and allowed for more processing power and thus could be based on anything from a high AMD HD 5000 series to a lower AMD HD 6000 (just speculation of course). I'm excited to see more!"


    Hmmm... AMD HD 5000

    Pure speculation of course... What do you guys think?
  26. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    More tech wonkery from the source (which is an anonymous messageboard post, fwiw):
    http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.ph ... 01&page=17

    TBH, if the WiiU's jump over the PS3/360 mimics the Wii's jump over the GameCube, that's still more than enough for me.

    [Although I wonder if we've reached the point where these "it's 1.5x more powerful" or "it's 3x more powerful" statements are meaningless. We're at the point of diminishing returns, where something twice as powerful doesn't equate to looking twice as good. When we get to the point of talking about memory restrictions for AI or destructible environments, it's a different beast than talking about wow, look at how realistic that grass looks!]
  27. Prime

    Prime Member

    Well, supposedly it's a "trusted" source posting information in Neogaf and B3D. I don't know how trusted is it, but I was expecting this since the early development kits were underclocked and still managed to be more powerful than the 360 and PS3.

    "Next gen" graphics, in my opinion, are going to be perhaps the most equal in gaming history. The difference is that Nintendo always makes the most "efficient" consoles pairing a powerful CPU with a competent GPU.

    The AI, destructible environments, etc... depend on the developer. The Wii U is supposedly the easiest Nintendo console to develop for ever, so 3rd party developers will not (hopefully) screw this up like in the Gamecube.
  28. Prime

    Prime Member

    I don't think you're gonna like this Mike:

    "Xbox 720 Will Be Six Times as Powerful as Current Gen"

    "In real terms, the Xbox 720's raw graphics processing power is expected to be six times that of the Xbox 360 and will yield 20-percent greater performance than Nintendo's forthcoming console, the Wii U."


    "20% greater performance"? What is that even mean? Of course those are just rumors, but if true... then I would be right about next gen graphics being equal.


    Just for laughs, members in neogaf are not really happy about this rumor:


    Why are they so upset about? Isn't "5-6 times more powerful" than current gen the normal leap to next gen? This is so funny nonetheless.
  29. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    Yep, I saw this pop up over on the IGN Wii lobby (and watched the lulz at gaf). Rumors and arbitrary factors abound...as do people thinking that constructing a DIY PC for gaming is the same as a console being built with customized and optimized hardware, which a few over at gaf are guilty of.

    The "6x more powerful" thing probably bothers them at gaf because, for instance, Sony was talking up the PS3 being 35x more powerful than the PS2 (while nVidia said the PS3 GPU was 50x more powerful than the PS2's). Whether that ever really panned out, who knows? Some of that was probably optimistic bluster. But even if not entirely true, I think the bar has already been set so high, that it's unrealistic to expect the same sort of jump with this console generation. Plus, the overall guts/chip set needed to achieve a similar graphical leap would be fairly new (re: expensive), mammoth (needing a ginormous casing) and hot as hell (not a recipe for reliability).

    And 20% greater performance is just a made-up figure; they can't even definitively pin down the Wii U's specs, let alone the neXt Box (which may or may not even have a dev kit at this point). This is probably going to continue weekly until E3.
  30. Prime

    Prime Member

    ^I Totally agree Mike.

    It has been a LULZ day... I can almost see gaf's members tears and foam coming out of their mouths. Even in N4G they are blaming Nintendo!!!

    [​IMG] This is so awesome.
  31. Prime

    Prime Member

    Question for all you PC GPU experts out there:

    Why are people saying that the theoretical Wii U GPU:


    Is better than the theoretical 720 GPU:


    What are the differences in plain english?
  32. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    I think it mainly comes down to videos like this, Prime.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... KAg#t=160s

    Basically, "informed gamers" on the internet are comparing benchmark tests of PC GPUs that are rumored to be the basis for the next Nintendo and Microsoft consoles, and pretending that's going to be indicative of custom chipsets optimized for actual consoles.
  33. Prime

    Prime Member

    ^I agree. Also "informed gamers" are kind of assuming that consoles work exactly like PCs. I remember when a rumor stated that the 720's RAM was of only 2gigs and everyone was like furious. I also think that people who bought a 360 or PS3 are expecting a huge jump in power but I don't see that happening.
  34. Prime

    Prime Member

    Former Crytek employee now working for Nintendo

    "It seems that Nintendo is really getting serious about HD game development not just in higher resolution games but also in graphic designs and engines.

    Mark Atkinson was the former Chief Technology Officer at Crytek and helped develop CryEngine 3 and has now been recently hired by Nintendo. This is a strong move since it will cement to other developers that Nintendo really is serious this time when it comes to having the latest and greatest tech running on their machine and, for at least one year, the most powerful console on the market.

    It makes you wonder what kind of games that use CryEngine 3 will we be seeing on the Wii U in the not too distant future? The possibilities are endless, but I'm willing to bet we'll see something at E3 running on this new er Engine to go along with Unreal Engine 3 (UE4 too?) of course."



  35. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    Hmm, indeed.

    When Nintendo goes on a talent binge, they tend to get the best - Retro, Monolith Soft, etc.

    [I also think that, aside from great talent, this is very shrewd business. For instance, if the former CTO of Crytek says the Wii U can handle the most powerful multiplats available, that carries weight with it.]
  36. Prime

    Prime Member

    ^Agreed, I can't wait anymore!!!! E3 please come soon!!!

    Off topic:

    Congrats on the Metroid Other M piece you did. Honestly that's like the most professional written opinion about Other M I've ever seen compared to the so-called journalists. Hats off to yo sir:

  37. Prime

    Prime Member

    First Sony patented a Wii U like controller:


    Now this?:

    Xbox 720 has 'Wii U touchscreen controller' - Report
    Next Xbox pad is "HD screen surrounded by 360 buttons and sticks"

    Microsoft's next Xbox is set to include a Wii U-like touchscreen controller, a report in Xbox World magazine has claimed.

    Writing in its latest issue, XBW's sources report the next Xbox "will be a matt-black media hub with a mission to bring games to life in your living room with augmented reality, directional sound, and a four-player, finger-tracking Kinect."

    The mag claims Microsoft is experimenting with a tablet-like controller with a shape closer to Sony's PS Vita than Wii U's "bulky unit".

    It goes on to describe the Xbox 720 pad as "an HD screen surrounded by the traditional 360 buttons and sticks."

    "That touchcreen will be second only to Kinect in how you operate your console," it claims. "It could be a remote control when you're watching TV, a browser when you're on the internet, extra buttons and information when you're playing a game or a portable display when you want to take your game with you."

    If you're starting to think this sounds awfully expensive, says XBW, you're right - the mag speculates Xbox 720 could come in at as much as £399.

    "Microsoft are playing it safe with the CPU and GPU but running wild with the functions that will change how you play, but it won't be cheap."

    It's not the first rumour that's pointed to Microsoft's possible plans for a Wii U-like controller: Last month Gamespot suggested there are "strong signs" that a tablet component will figure heavily in the next Xbox.

    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/33 ... er-report/

  38. Ex-Actarus

    Ex-Actarus Well-Known Member

    Yeah I saw that news. it seems that once again Nintendo is going to defined the next gen.

    Tablet controllers are going to be on 720 and probably PS4.

    Will MS also integrate the NFC capabilities ? More than likely...
  39. Menashe

    Menashe Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I meant to post a news item on this but haven't had a chance yet.
  40. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

    Huh, I had posted a reply on here before the boards changed over, and now it's gone.

    Anywho, just wanted to say thanks to Prime for reading the Other M piece. It's gotten some back and forth in the comments, but I'm just glad that some folks read it, and I'm even more grateful that some who read it enjoyed it. I had been bottling that one up for months, trying to find a reason to write about Other M, and it finally came to me in the form of that list.
  41. Ex-Actarus

    Ex-Actarus Well-Known Member

    What everybody think about those Samaritan video requirements ( 4.4 times a Xbox 360 at 720 P / 30 fps ) ?

    Do you think the Wii U will be able to support Unreal Engine 4 ?

    I really hope so [​IMG] . The Wii was really higly impacted be poor support from 3rd party devs for not supporting the Unreal Engine 3.
  42. EvilTw1n

    EvilTw1n Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. Staff Member Moderator

  43. Menashe

    Menashe Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I've heard some things about the Wii U processor and its capabilities in running Unreal Engines and such. But, my lips are sealed and someone else holds the key. Sorry. All I could say is expect awesome graphics. Don't doubt them.
  44. DarkDepths

    DarkDepths Your friendly neighbourhood robot overlord

    When you have skills such as mine, keys become irrelevant .

    (The lack of a [face_mischief] emoticon makes this sound really creepy!)
  45. Juegos

    Juegos All mods go to heaven. Staff Member Moderator

    Fixed it for maximum creepiness.
  46. Prime

    Prime Member

    Supposedly yes at 720p... Who knows [​IMG]

    Crytek though, is really happy with the hardware [​IMG]


    Do you know something that we don't?
  47. Juegos

    Juegos All mods go to heaven. Staff Member Moderator

    If you look at the 'meet the staff' page, you will notice a mysterious "NintendoMan" in there. I don't know who this man is (though I have my suspicions), but his tips have been legit so far.

    Just to clarify a little bit, I believe this man is either:
    -someone all of us staff members already knew (who happens to know someone else that passes him the info), or
    -the person that the person above knows, in which case I don't think any of us except Menashe has talked to him.
  48. Prime

    Prime Member


    ^That's him.

    So, a Nintendo Enthusiast conspiracy?

    I don't know what to believe in anymore... I'm scared. [​IMG]
  49. Menashe

    Menashe Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    All I'll say is that NintendoMan is the real deal. I don't know his position or anything but my assumption from speaking to him is that he is directly related to the hardware side of Nintendo-related things, but because of this he also has a pretty solid grasp and knowledge of general software and hardware plans of Nintendo, especially the third-party plans and "requests" of the hardware for the sake of their games, engines, and services.

    So, I've heard him talk of specific technologies within the processor and even his "favorite" new technology in the system (which is really cool but will probably take time for developers to implement properly.)
  50. Prime

    Prime Member

    What is this wizardry you speak of?


    Well if you can hint it a little bit, or if we will know about it sooner than E3.
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