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History of video games/Platforms/Wii U

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History[edit | edit source]

A model Wii U at E3 2011.

Development[edit | edit source]

The Wii U was proceeded by the very successful Nintendo Wii.

One gamepad prototype was essentially a screen with two wiimotes attached to it.[1]

Concerns were raised over potential forced child labor in the production of Wii U systems in 2012.[2]

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata sketched the idea for Amiibo while riding a bullet train (Shinkansen) to Tokyo in the later part of 2013.[3][4]

Launch[edit | edit source]

The Wii U logotype.
I actually am baffled by it, I don’t think it’s going to be a big success.
—Nolan K. Bushnell, New York Times article, 2012[5]

Pricing[edit | edit source]

The typical MSRP of games raised to $59.99, up from $49.99 for Wii games.[6]

At launch in 2012 the 8GB Basic Wii U cost $299.99 and the 32GB Deluxe Wii U cost $349.99.[6]

Stagnation[edit | edit source]

By January 2013 the Wii U had notably poor market performance in the United States, having only sold between 50,000 and 59,000 consoles.[7][8] Nintendo reported much lower sales of the Wii U then expected in 2014, leading to financial worries.[9]

In 2015, Nintendo Amiibo sales were very high.[10]

In 2015, Nintendo withdrew from the Brazilian market.[11]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Production of the Wii U ended in January of 2017.[12][13] 13.56 million Wii U consoles and 103.21 million Wii U games were sold over the course of the system.[14]

The Wii U was succeeded by the Nintendo Switch, and eventually many Wii U exclusives were ported to that console.

In 2020 some sought out older Wii U consoles due to shortages of the Nintendo Switch during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.[15]

Technology[edit | edit source]

Compute[edit | edit source]

The Wii U is powered by a three core 32-bit IBM Power-PC 750 CPU clocked at 1.243125 gigahertz and produced on a 45 nanometer SOI process.[16][17][18] This is complemented by an AMD Radeon GPU clocked at 549.999755 megahertz, which is similar to the AMD RV770 GPU series (HD 4000) and built on a 40 nanometer process supporting up to 1080p output.[16][17][18][19] The GPU has 320 stream processors, 16 texture mapping units, and eight render output units.[19] Both processors have access to 4 gigabytes of shared DDR3-1600 RAM with up to 12.8 gigabytes a second of bandwidth.[18] Though the hardware was underpowered for its time, careful consideration to memory hierarchy and interrelation between components eased many performance bottlenecks.[20]

The basic Wii U has eight gigabytes of solid state storage, and the premium Wii U has 32 gigabytes of solid state storage.[16]

Just as the Wii was often said to be twice as powerful as the GameCube, the Wii U is said to be roughly thrice as powerful as the Wii. Some also compare the power of the Wii U to that of the Xbox 360. While not necessarily true, these can be useful generalizations.

Console Hardware[edit | edit source]

As the wireless gamepad is a critical part of the Wii U, the system sports a relatively feature rich radio suite. The Wii U supports 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi b/g/n.[16][18][21] The Wii U has an additional Wi-Fi N controller to Miracast to the GamePad.[18]

The Wii U has an optical disk reader which uses 25 gigabyte capacity disks with rounded edges and has read speeds of up to 22 megabytes a second.[18][22] These are essentially non-standard Blu-Ray disks, and as with previous disc based Nintendo consoles, the drive is incapable of reading standard Blu Ray and DVD media to avoid patent issues.[23]

The Wii U has four USB ports, one of which can be used with an external storage drive or thumb drive for extra space.[16][24] The Wii U can use SDHC cards up to 32 gigabytes of cpacity.[16]

GamePad[edit | edit source]

The GamePad has a 6.2" LCD with a resolution of 854 by 480 pixels and a resistive touch screen that does not support multi-touch.[25][26]

The GamePad has an NFC radio built in to use Amiibo.[24]

The GamePad has an IR remote to control television sets.[24]

The Wii U could technically support two gamepads, though this was not pursued in practice.[27][28][29]

Other accessories[edit | edit source]

The Wii U can use a USB keyboard, though this feature was not available at launch.[30][31]

Software[edit | edit source]

The Wii U runs its own specialized operating system.[32]

Third Party Support[edit | edit source]

Some third party developers, such as Team Ninja, noted the relative ease of development for the system, comparing it to consoles from the previous generation, such as the Xbox 360.[33] Other third party developers, such as Bethesda, noted that Nintendo did not approach them early enough for them to offer viable support for the Wii U.[34]

Manuals[edit | edit source]

In the beginning, Wii U games had paper manuals, with Wii U games shifting to digital manuals around 2014.[35][36]

Special Editions[edit | edit source]

Special editions and versions of the console.

  • Starlight Gaming Station - Kiosk for hospital use.[37]

Notable Games[edit | edit source]

2012[edit | edit source]

2013[edit | edit source]

The Wonderful 101 at the 2013 Comic Con International

2013 was promoted by Nintendo as the Year of Luigi as the 30th anniversary of his first appearance.

Sonic Lost World[edit | edit source]

The Wii U version of this game featured exclusive DLC featuring crossovers with the Zelda and Yoshi game franchises.[38][39]

Read more about Sonic Lost World on Wikipedia.

2014[edit | edit source]

2015[edit | edit source]

The Satoru Iwata memorial at the Nintendo World Store in 2015
StarFox Zero at E3 2015

2016[edit | edit source]

Breath of the Wild at E3 2016

2017[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Nintendo Wii U[edit | edit source]

Wii U Controllers[edit | edit source]

Technology[edit | edit source]

External Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Kersey, Ben (7 December 2012). "Nintendo details the history and prototypes of the Wii U". The Verge. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  2. Phillips, Tom (18 October 2012). "Nintendo investigating Wii U manufacturer Foxconn for using illegal child labour" (in en). Eurogamer. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-18-nintendo-investigating-wii-u-manufacturer-foxconn-for-using-illegal-child-labour. 
  3. "Inside Nintendo's Plan to Stay Alive for the Next 125 Years". Time. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  4. "Iwata Came Up With Amiibo on a Train in Late 2013". Gamnesia. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  5. Wingfield, Nick (24 November 2012). "Nintendo Confronts a Changed Video Game World (Published 2012)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  6. a b McElroy, Griffin (13 September 2012). "Wii U games will cost $59.99" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2012/9/13/3328300/wii-u-games-price. Retrieved 20 October 2020. 
  7. Orland, Kyle (15 February 2013). "Wii U has historically bad January, sells about 50,000 units in US" (in en-us). Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/02/wii-u-has-historically-bad-january-sells-about-50000-units-in-us/. 
  8. Matthews, Matt. "At 57K sold, Wii U's January performance is historically abysmal" (in en). www.gamasutra.com. https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/186741/At_57K_sold_Wii_Us_January_performance_is_historically_abysmal.php. 
  9. Pfanner, Eric (29 January 2014). "Flat Sales of Wii U Put Nintendo in the Hot Seat (Published 2014)". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  10. Byford, Sam (15 January 2015). "Nintendo is selling millions of $12.99 plastic figurines". The Verge. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  11. Good, Owen S. (10 January 2015). "Nintendo ends console and game distribution in Brazil, citing high taxes" (in en). Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/2015/1/10/7524759/nintendo-brazil-wii-u-3ds-tariffs-taxes. Retrieved 26 October 2020. 
  12. "Wii U Production Ends Worldwide". GameSpot. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  13. "Nintendo Switch overtakes the Wii U". BBC News. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  14. "IR Information : Sales Data - Dedicated Video Game Sales Units". Nintendo Co., Ltd. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  15. "Why You Should Buy A Wii U If You Can't Get A Nintendo Switch". ScreenRant. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  16. a b c d e f "Technical Specifications". Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  17. a b "Wii U CPU and GPU clock speeds revealed; not the end of the world, but not great either - ExtremeTech". www.extremetech.com. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  18. a b c d e f Shimpi, Anand Lal. "Nintendo Wii U Teardown". www.anandtech.com. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  19. a b Leadbetter, Richard (5 February 2013). "Wii U graphics power finally revealed". Eurogamer. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  20. "Wii U avoids RAM bottleneck, says Nano Assault dev". VG247. 5 November 2012. https://www.vg247.com/2012/11/05/wii-u-avoids-ram-bottleneck-says-nano-assault-dev/. 
  21. "Nintendo Support: Compatible Wireless Modes and Wireless Security Types". en-americas-support.nintendo.com. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  22. "Take a very, very close look at the round-edged Wii U proprietary discs". Engadget. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  23. Sin, Gloria. "Nintendo Wii U: No DVD or Blu-ray player? No problem." (in en). ZDNet. https://www.zdnet.com/article/nintendo-wii-u-no-dvd-or-blu-ray-player-no-problem/. 
  24. a b c Stein, Scott. "Wii U review: A fun system for kids, but you should probably wait for the Switch". CNET. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  25. Pierce, David (18 November 2012). "Nintendo Wii U review". The Verge. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  26. "Nintendo Wii U Review". PCMAG. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  27. Doolan, Liam (9 July 2022). "Reggie Explains Why The Nintendo Wii U Didn't Utilise Dual GamePad Support". Nintendo Life. https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2022/07/reggie-explains-why-the-nintendo-wii-u-didnt-utilise-dual-gamepad-support. 
  28. "Reggie talks about why Nintendo never used two GamePads with Wii U" (in en). Nintendo Everything. 8 July 2022. https://nintendoeverything.com/reggie-talks-about-why-nintendo-never-used-two-gamepads-with-wii-u/. 
  29. "Reggie explains why the Wii U never got dual GamePad play" (in en). GoNintendo. 8 July 2022. https://gonintendo.com/contents/6213-reggie-explains-why-the-wii-u-never-got-dual-gamepad-play. 
  30. "USB keyboard support". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  31. "Nintendo Support: Does the Wii U Console Work With Keyboards?". en-americas-support.nintendo.com. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  32. "Wii U Operating System". NintendoToday. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  33. Souppouris, Aaron (1 February 2012). "Team Ninja: Wii U is 'very easy to develop for'" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2012/2/1/2763225/nintendo-wii-u-easy-to-develop-for-team-ninja. Retrieved 20 October 2020. 
  34. Rose, Mike. "Bethesda: It's too late for third-party support on Wii U" (in en). www.gamasutra.com. https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/199456/Bethesda_Its_too_late_for_thirdparty_support_on_Wii_U.php. Retrieved 20 October 2020. 
  35. Totilo, Stephen (February 5th, 2014). "Nintendo Is Slowly Reinventing The Video Game Instruction Manual" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/nintendo-is-slowly-reinventing-the-video-game-instructi-1515814941. Retrieved 20 October 2020. 
  36. Totilo, Stephen (March 14th, 2017). "Even Nintendo Seems To Be Abandoning Game Instruction Manuals" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/even-nintendo-seems-to-be-abandoning-game-instruction-m-1793260316. Retrieved 20 October 2020. 
  37. "Announcing the Starlight Nintendo Switch Gaming Station!". www.starlight.org. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  38. Diaz, Ana (16 July 2021). "Let us not forget Sonic the Hedgehog’s weird Zelda: Skyward Sword crossover". Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/22580065/legend-of-zelda-skyward-sword-sonic-the-hedgehog-lost-world-wii-u-dlc-crossover. 
  39. Farokhmanesh, Megan (26 March 2014). "Sonic: Lost World gets free The Legend of Zelda DLC stage March 27". Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/2014/3/26/5550670/sonic-lost-world-gets-free-the-legend-of-zelda-dlc-stage-march-27.