Wii U Brings the Tablet Culture to the Gaming World

(Ping! Zine Issue 52) – Let the next generation console season begin! On November 18th, Nintendo will debut its Wii U. What will likely follow are a number of next generation console devices from top competitors.

With its latest release, Nintendo is betting its market success on a device quite different from its predecessor.
Wii U’s controller features its own touchscreen, allowing gaming participants to play titles with a variety of news controls. Users can also simply use the controller as a mobile gaming device when away from their televisions. Other inclusions feature a GamePad Stylus for the controller and a sensor bar, as was available with Wii U’s predecessor.

The Basic Set of the Wii U will be offered at a common retail price of $299.99 and features 8GB of internal storage while the Deluxe Set will cost you $349.99 and contains 32GB of internal storage. Users will also be able to easily tell the difference between the two versions. The Wii U Deluxe set features a black console device while the basic features the device in white.

“With the integrated second screen of the included GamePad and features that instantly enhance the way people play games, watch video and interact with each other, consumers will see how Wii U delivers a completely unique experience and a remarkable value right out of the box,” commented Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime in a press release.

Wii U’s arrival, of course, means the introduction of new games to the Nintendo platform, many of which will draw on company favorites such as Mario. Upcoming titles include Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Lego City: Undercover, Wii Fit U, SiNG PARTY and a whole lot more.

If you’re worried the Wii U is too much of a drastic change from the original console, think again: Users can enjoy previous controllers including the Nunchuck made famous by the original Wii. It’s also backward compatible. That means it’ll work with all your old Wii games.

Preorders are available and retailers expected to carry the device include Best Buy, Walmart, Sears, Target, Toys R Us, Gamestop and Kmart.

So how will the highly anticipated console device fare in the upcoming holiday market? Despite much excitement, not everyone is confident the release will exceed expectations. “We remain cautious on the sell-through potential for the Wii U due to a soft economy, unprecedented competition and what we view as a disappointing clunky form factor, user interface and operating system,” commented industry analysis Michael Olson of Piper Jaffray in a recent report appearing on TGDaily.com. However, such analysis might not be enough to deter relentless Nintendo enthusiasts who still love classics like Mario.

The 2 GB device was playable for consumers during last year’s E3 gaming conference. Meanwhile, it’s expected that Nintendo competitors including Sony and Microsoft will launch their own next generation devices sometime in the distant future.