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Nintendo Wii U goes on sale in the US

19 November 2012

Nintendo WII UThe new gaming console from Nintendo went on sale at midnight with reports telling of stores selling out after fans waited outside before stores opened their doors. This is the first major update by Nintendo to its console in over 6 years, who are looking to get in front of rival console launches, and ramp up sales in time for the festive season.

The reason that some stores are selling out of stock could be due to the fact that the actual manufacturing of the devices only began this summer and went able to get adeqaute numbers stocked up. There are suggestions that some shoppers may not get to buy one this side of Christmas.

The Wii U hardware specs include IBM Power multi-core processor, AMD Radeon based GPU, support for video resolutions of 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i, output is HDMI, Component Video, RGB and AV, six channel audio output, NFC and wireless (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) connection. The basic pack has 8GB of onboard storage and the premium pack comes with 32GB, this can can be extended via four USB connections or SD memory card to 2GB or SDHC Cards up to 32GB.

As well as supporting WII Remote Controllers, the WII U also comes with a GamePad controller unit, i.e a tablet with 6.2 inch touchscreen and hardware buttons on either side. The GamePad can be used in a number of configurations; as a game controller with TV display in both horizontal or vertical positions, as a sub screen, using with four other WII Remote Controllers making five multi players, motion controller with built in gyroscope, using stylus and output on TV and playing a game on the GamePad only (handheld gaming device).

Nintendo WII U GamePad

Since the launch there have been two incidents with the WII U. One being that users have to download and install a big file, around 1-2 GB, that updates the software running on the console. This can take a couple of hours, not good for out of the box experience. Users have to be careful not to disrupt the installation or else can cause problems with the device. The other problem which has now been rectified concerned the integrated social network called ‘Miiverse’ that allows interacting with other players via avatars. A user while trying to add friends was able to accidently ‘hack’ the interface and view hidden sub forums and some private messages. Also visible was the option to change admin password or delete altogether. The said  users tells that he left everything untouched as he didn’t want to get a ban from the network. Nintendo were quick to issue a fix and things are running ok now.

Nintendo WII U GamePad Stylus

Nintendo are hoping to sell 3.5 million units by Dec 2012, compared to the Wii 3.1 million and some 5.5 million by early next Spring to get back on track after disappointing sales of its handheld device, the 3DS, leading to substantial cuts in profit targets. The WII U is priced at around $300 for basic package. It will arrive in Europe on Nov 3oth and in Japan on Dec 6th.

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