Nintendo’s next console, the Wii U, will not be significantly more powerful than the consoles in the current generation like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto said.
The new console will strike a balance somewhere between bringing in high-definition graphics and performance and remaining cheap and accessible for gamers, he said. The Wii was not a graphics powerhouse like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but the console was much cheaper and made its retail debut at $250. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were both at least $100 more expensive than the Wii, though the price for each console has fallen significantly since then.
The new console will come out sometime next year, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said. The company unveiled the console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this month. Nintendo wants to include “something for everyone” in the new console, Iwata said at E3. That’s probably an attempt to silence critics of the original Wii, which some said did not have enough content for hardcore gamers who were looking for good games from Nintendo’s main franchises.
Nintendo showed off the third-party games that would come with the Wii U at its press conference at E3, and the graphics were impressive. Those titles include the likes of Tekken, Batman Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed and Darksiders 2. They’re all hardcore titles that feature high-quality graphics and massive production values. But Nintendo later admitted that the demo reels the company showed at its press conference were not the graphics the Wii U would feature.
The first Wii was a huge success for Nintendo and started the motion gaming craze, leading Sony and Microsoft to also release motion controllers for their home gaming consoles. The Wii sold more than 86 million units total and was a smash hit with casual gamers. It has one of the widest install bases in the world and for a long time was the console to beat after it was released, with retail outlets selling the consoles literally minutes after they hit the shelves.
The Wii is credited with bringing home console gaming to more mainstream audiences, particularly casual gamers that wouldn’t typically go for a home gaming console like the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3. It included games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit, which were non-traditional titles that sold incredibly well thanks to the immersion of motion controllers and the Wii Balance Board.
The device features a controller with a touch screen, camera and microphone. It looks like the bottom half of the Nintendo 3DS and Sony’s PlayStation Portable, with the screen in the center that changes with the game. The controller can display and run games when they aren’t available on the TV.
The controller has a 6.2 inch screen and the console is backwards compatible with all Wii devices and Wii games. But the device is not designed to be a portable device, Iwata said. The images on the WiiU screen are transmitted wirelessly from the console. Nintendo also showed off an early tech demo for the Wii U, and it looks like it has about as much graphics firepower as the Xbox 360 — though it’s maybe just a tiny bit weaker.