Nintendo’s Wii U console was announced at E3 2011, and is the successor to the Wii. The Wii U will launch during Fall 2012 in United States, Europe, and Japan. The Wii U console is the first Nintendo system to support 1080p resolution, and will be the most powerful console in the world, once released. The Wii U will support a high-capacity disc storage system with up to 25 GB available for games. However, the Wii U will not be able to play Blu-ray movies nor DVDs. The new console will support all sorts Wii U accessories made by both Nintendo and third party accessory makers like Mad Catz and Nyko. Some of the accessories will be included in future Wii U bundles. The console will run a Nintendo-made OS called Wii U Operating System, which will run off of a separate, smaller CPU.


Wii U console
The Wii U console began development in 2008 at Nintendo in Japan, where developers worked on creating a powerful console with new and innovative control features. Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto and others went through several Wii U console designs, before settling on a design that incorporates a controller with a built in tablet. Despite being a brand new console, the Wii U hardware will be backwards compatible with Wii controllers and peripherals such as the Wii balance board. The Wii U console will also be backwards compatible with old Wii games, but will not support GameCube titles.

Controller design

The Wii U console features a brand new controller design which sets the system apart from competing consoles. The Wii U controller has a build in 6.2 inch touchscreen, microphone, gyroscope and other features that enable developers to create new types of video games. The Wii U console will ship with one Wii U controller. However, Nintendo has said that it will be possible to use additional controllers with the console. It will be possible for players to stream the entire game to the Wii U controller instead of the TV. The controller will utilize the Wii U sensor bar for motion tracking. The tablet controller is officially called the Wii U GamePad.

Hardware and connectivity

The Wii U console will feature an assortment of ports and connections, including several USB ports, SD card slot, and HDMI connectivity. The console with have built-in flash memory for save games and operating system, but players will also be able to save games on USB drives and SD cards. Here are the official Wii U console specifications:

  • Launch: Fall or November 2012
  • Included items: Wii U Console, Wii U tablet controller, controller stylus pen, HDMI cable, component, S-video and composite cables, Wii U sensor bar, USB charger cable for controller
  • Disc: Nintendo-designed high capacity, 25GB disc
  • Video support: 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 480i.
  • Audio support: six (6) channel audio support via HDMI
  • Memory storage: internal Flash memory + SD card expansion slots + USB memory support
  • Internal flash memory storage: 8 GB (rumored)
  • Backwards compatibility: compatible with Wii game discs. Via Wii U Virtual Console downloads: GameCube, N64, NEs, SNES, and others.
  • Ports: 4X USB ports (2 front + 2 rear), HDMI 1.4 output, Video-out, Sensor-bar port.
  • Online connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n only
  • Launch price: $299 (rumored)
  • Estimated launch game lineup: 15-20 first and third party games.

Wii U Console CPU, GPU and RAM specs

Technical specifications for the Wii U have yet to be detailed, although Nintendo will be working with the same partners as before: AMD and IBM. The Wii U is said to be about 50% more powerful than the current generation consoles, while some developers have suggested it was on par with the current consoles. Nintendo will be using a newer and improved CPU, GPU and memory design, which in an of itself will result in improved performance, while price wise, it should be competitive with the current consoles on the market. Since the components are based on similar technological architectures and made by the same suppliers, the console will be fully backwards compatible with older Wii games and should run then without any issues.

So far, the confirmed Wii U system specs are:

  • Wii U CPU: IBM designed, PowerPC based processor, rumored to be a quad core chip
  • Wii U GPU: AMD/ATI designed Radeon HD graphics chip
  • RAM: Unknown size of RAM, rumored to be from 768 MB to 1GB.

Wii U 3D support

Nintendo has confirmed that it is possible for the Wii U console to support 3D gaming on 3D televisions. However, the company said that 3D is not something they are currently focusing on. 3D games require double the amount of frame rates per second in order to deliver smooth 3D image. It’s highly likely that the Wii U console will get proper 3D support in the future, when the hardware and software matures, much like Sony did with the PlayStation 3.

Wii U Console NFC

The Wii U console will support NFC technology. NFC — Near Field Communications — enables the Wii U controller to interact with other devices that have NFC chips. These devices can range from smartphones, to tablets, and even more primitive objects such as playing cards and toys. For more information, check out the Wii U NFC page.

Wii U games lineup

The Wii U will launch with several first and third party titles. Nintendo has showcased a Wii U Mii game at events, a game that is rumored to the main first party launch title for the console. Third party games like Assassin’s Creed 3, Darksiders 2 and Aliens: Colonial Marines will launch alongside the console as well. For more details, check out a full list of Wii U games. In addition to the Wii U games, the console supports games from GameCube, Wii, N64, and other systems as well through Wii U backwards compatibility. Check out the complete list of games that have been 100% confirmed for the console at Wii U games list.

Wii U models and bundles

Nintendo is expected only to offer one model of the Wii U at launch, however the company will likely introduce new Wii U models as the console matures. For example, white and black Wii U models will most likely be sold some time in the future and as part of various Wii U bundles.

Wii U online

The Wii U console will have full online connectivity through the brand new Nintendo Network. The sections will be divided into familiar Wii U channels, where players can access the Internet, watch movies on Netflix, connect with Facebook and Twitter (rumored), and download apps via the Wii U apps store. It will also be possible to purchase games, DLC, and other game-related content via the Wii U eShop, which will be part of the Nintendo Network. Prices will be in Wii Points, where 100 Wii Points equals $1.

Backwards compatibility

The Wii U will be fully backwards compatible with Wii games. Furthermore, via the Wii U Virtual console, players will be able to download older games for the Wii U console. These older system include the GameCube, Nintendo 64, SNES, and even third party consoles made by SEGA and others. Wii games will work by simply inserting the game disc into the Wii U console, and playing with the Wiimote, just as before. These older games won’t be compatible with the new tablet controller, at least not at launch. Besides older Nintendo system, players will be able to play all of their old Wii games on the new console. Nintendo has made the Wii U Pro controller, which will make it easier to play older games.

Wii U development kit and tool

Nintendo offers a Wii U dev kit to developers to create software and games for the console. This dev kit includes the necessary hardware, software, and compilers in order to program games for the system. Nintendo offers developers many software tools, APIs and code to freely use when creating Wii U games. For more details, see Wii U dev kit.

You can also find photos and artwork of the Wii U on our Wii U images page.