Wii U Overview and Predictions from E3

At the 2011 E3 conference in Los Angeles Nintendo lifted the lid on the new console which is known by the codename Project Café. The new console will be entitled Wii U and based on the demonstration shown by Nintendo to the assembled journalist the new console does have a lot of potential.
The main thing the console has going for it are updated graphics, a rumored Blu-ray, and better connectivity for more online gaming options. A six-inch control which has an embedded video screen was shown to the assembled masses following a nice rendering of a bird in flight over water to give an example of the graphical ability of the new system.

The new console control allows users to view and play their game via the control even if the television set is switched off or to another channel. The control also allows users to videoconference, draw artwork, and transfer our work in media to a television with a simple light of the finger across the control screen.
The control works with existing Wii controls which allows for zooming effects with the Wii Zapper. The demonstration showed the new control acting as a scope on a sniper rifle in conjunction with the Zapper as players can various Windows to locate a specific Mii.

A segment showing a person golfing by laying the control on the floor and doing a golf swing above it received a nice round of applause. Various clips followed showing upcoming games such as Aliens: Colonial Marines, Batman Arkham City, and a rendering of what a new Zelda game might look like.

While the graphics looks solid they seemed on par with what we’ve had for years with the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 systems. It was later revealed that some of the gameplay footage shown was actual gameplay from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 units and was not actually rendered by the new console.
Nintendo did not reveal anything about the actual console itself in terms of its look, abilities, pricing, launch date, or expected titles that would be available at launch.

For a system that is due in 2012 it was a bit odd to have so little information available for the assembled media. It almost made me think that Nintendo was not fully ready to roll out the new system to the press but could not pass up the opportunity that E3 presented especially with rumors that the competition may announce a new console at the 2012 E3 convention.

While it does show a considerable improvement over the current Wii, it does raise questions as to whether or not Nintendo is simply playing catch-up and that the new system will be left behind once the new systems for Microsoft and Sony are unveiled.

Prior to the show, I asked Chris to do a write up of what he expected to hear about the new console and what he had heard about it. His report is below…..

For months rumors have been swirling around that Nintendo would be unveiling a new console at this years E3. Everybody was wondering what the new console would be like. Would it be more powerful? What would it look like? How much would it cost? When would it be released? What would it be called? For years every time Nintendo would release a new console the would give it a working title before the would give it a final name. The Game Cube was known as Dolphin. The Wii was known as Revolution. This new console has been referred to as Project Cafe. Rumors have suggested that the final product name will be Stream.

The Wii by far was not the most powerful system on the block. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 were by far more powerful than the Wii. What the Wii brought to the table was innovation. The Wii was the first console to start using motion control. Many games were released that utilized this new technology very well and they were very fun to play. Some games on the other hand were made much more difficult with the motion control. First person shooters were among these games. With the new console many are hoping for a more powerful system with good game play. I would like to see more of the motion control that we have come to love with the option for a more classic control. As far as the systems power Nintendo has partnered up with AMD for its graphics processor, developing a chip featuring a custom version of the R700 architecture developing a chip featuring a custom version of the R700 architecture. The CPU will be coming from IBM. It will be a custom built triple core IBM Powere PC chip. It has been said that Cafe will be more powerful than both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. At this time nobody knows how much so. Cafe is also said to be able to support a 1080p display. Recently Nintendo released the Nintendo 3DS, a 3D portable gaming system. At this time we are not sure how much Nintendo will pursue the 3d technology for Cafe. As far as the new controller, the pictures that have been leaked show the controller as a more traditional controller with a touch screen in the center.

Now that Nintendo is releasing a new console does this mean you will have another console to find a spot for in your entertainment center? No, the word is that Cafe will be backwards compatible with not only the Wii but the Game Cube as well. As far as a release date, first it was leaked that Cafe would release as early as this October. Later information was leaked that Cafe would be released in the middle of 2012. The price is said to be set at around $400. This all being said as with all releases everything is subject to change.

All the loyal Nintendo fan boys are drooling over the information that has already been leaked. There are still many questions that remain. Will Cafe have a Blu-ray or a DVD player? What games will be available upon release? Will Nintendo’s new console appeal to more hardcore gamers? Will more mature titles be released for Cafe? Will Cafe support online gameply? So many questions are floating around with some leaked information. Who is to know what is fact and what is just rumors. Hopefully all the questions that we have will be answered at E3 2011 on June 7th. Until then we will just have to sit back and speculate.

Chris Thompson