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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" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2012/12/7/3739626/nintendo-wii-u-history-prototypes. 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". https://time.com/3749061/nintendo-mobile-gaming/. Retrieved 19 November 2020. 
  4. "Iwata Came Up With Amiibo on a Train in Late 2013". 19 March 2015. https://gamnesia.com/iwata-came-up-with-amiibo-on-a-train-in-late-2013/. Retrieved 19 November 2020. 
  5. Wingfield, Nick (24 November 2012). "Nintendo Confronts a Changed Video Game World (Published 2012)". https://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/technology/nintendos-wii-u-takes-aim-at-a-changed-video-game-world.html. 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)". https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/technology/flat-sales-of-wii-u-put-nintendo-in-hot-seat.html. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  10. Byford, Sam (15 January 2015). "Nintendo is selling millions of $12.99 plastic figurines" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2015/1/15/7554873/nintendo-amiibo-sales. 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". https://www.gamespot.com/articles/wii-u-production-ends-worldwide/1100-6447419. Retrieved 13 November 2020. 
  13. "Nintendo Switch overtakes the Wii U". 31 January 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42885803. Retrieved 13 November 2020. 
  14. "IR Information : Sales Data - Dedicated Video Game Sales Units" (in en). https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/finance/hard_soft/. Retrieved 26 October 2020. 
  15. "Why You Should Buy A Wii U If You Can’t Get A Nintendo Switch". 1 April 2020. https://screenrant.com/nintendo-switch-sold-out-wii-u-worth-2020/. Retrieved 13 November 2020. 
  16. a b c d e f "Technical Specifications". https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Wii-U/Hardware-Features/Specifications/Specifications-664742.html. 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". https://www.extremetech.com/gaming/142002-wii-u-cpu-and-gpu-clock-speeds-revealed-not-the-end-of-the-world-but-not-great-either. Retrieved 8 November 2020. 
  18. a b c d e f Shimpi, Anand Lal. "Nintendo Wii U Teardown". https://www.anandtech.com/show/6465/nintendo-wii-u-teardown. Retrieved 8 November 2020. 
  19. a b Leadbetter, Richard (5 February 2013). "Wii U graphics power finally revealed" (in en). https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/df-hardware-wii-u-graphics-power-finally-revealed. 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". https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/498/~/compatible-wireless-modes-and-wireless-security-types. Retrieved 8 November 2020. 
  22. "Take a very, very close look at the round-edged Wii U proprietary discs" (in en). https://www.engadget.com/2012-11-12-nintendo-wii-u-proprietary-disc.html. 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" (in en). https://www.cnet.com/reviews/nintendo-wii-u-review/2/. Retrieved 8 November 2020. 
  25. Pierce, David (18 November 2012). "Nintendo Wii U review" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2012/11/18/3658130/nintendo-wii-u-review. Retrieved 8 November 2020. 
  26. "Nintendo Wii U Review" (in en). https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/nintendo-wii-u. 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". https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Support/Wii-U/Game-Updates/Monster-Hunter-3-Ultimate/USB-keyboard-support/USB-keyboard-support-738278.html. 
  31. "Nintendo Support: Does the Wii U Console Work With Keyboards?". https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1432/~/does-the-wii-u-console-work-with-keyboards%3F. 
  32. "Wii U Operating System". 17 May 2012. https://nintendotoday.com/wii-u-operating-system/. 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!" (in en). https://www.starlight.org/stories/announcing-the-starlight-nintendo-switch-gaming-station/. 
  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.