With I4T based in the UK, we are not getting our hands on the Wii U until Friday November 30th!! Seriously, how will we cope with waiting that long, knowing that so many of our friends in the US are already experiencing and loving the Wii U with all it has to offer? Well, we won’t cope, but we’ll have to and you guys on the other side can make it more fun for us by letting us know just how good it is, what you are playing, your experiences, pros, cons and anything else that you can say to wet our appetites, until we get our grubby hands on the machine.
Add your comments at the bottom of the post and include any links to your Wii U Day 1 experiences in video if you’ve made any. We’ll mention you and include them in a future post.
We have been checking out the latest Wii U gameplay videos and even the Wii ZombiU GamePad trailer gets us all excited:
So now back to the serious stuff…..
What makes the Wii U so different to current consoles out there that would make U splash the cash ahead of the release date?
The biggest difference with the Wii U over other consoles currently out there is the innovative GamePad, the Tablet style controller with a 6.2 inch touch screen that you will be using for in-game actions, to access items, browse menus, view maps and much more, which for hard core gamers will be a massive bonus, giving these already intense games a new level of depth. Something that will be a advantage to many a gamer and a usually lesser fortunate non gaming partner will be the option to take your main game off the TV and flick it over to just the GamePad, so the other half can watch whatever mundane programme they want, whilst you happily play away on the GamePad. (just don’t go too far…or you’ll lose reception, depending on your house size and what your walls are built like). This is what Nintendo President Satoru Iwata had to say on the matter.
“Differences will arise depending on whether you live in a house made of wood or an apartment of reinforced concrete, and what materials the walls are made out of,” Iwata explained. “Since the Wii U sends radio waves to the GamePad, these waves can be affected if they have to pass through certain materials (like steel or water).”
Placing the Wii U base unit within a metal TV stand may adversely affect the console’s range, designer Tat Iwamoto added. “If you place the Wii U console in something like a metal TV stand it may deflect the radio waves thus reducing its usable range. Radio waves weaken by the square of the distance, so even within the same space, too much distance could make them weaker, and having obstacles in between would be a disadvantage.”
Nintendo’s Bill Trinen recently quantified the Wii U GamePad‘s range as about 8 metres or 24 feet for “best performance”. So, can you use the GamePad on the toilet? It appeared at least one of Iwata’s designers had achieved the feat. “My living room and bathroom are separated by a single wall,” designer Toru Yamashita revealed. “I was able to use it.”
The GampePad also features a front facing camera that can be used for video chat as a stand alone and in the Miiverse, but it’s main usage will be in-game, currently Tank Tank Tank appears to be the only title where this fits perfectly. Miiverse is integrated into the Wii U and allows users to chat with one another via text and video through the GamePad. It will also share information on what game you are playing and achievements you have received.
A bult-in microphone is situated just below the GamePad screen, which can be used for in-game chatting on the Wii U, but currently will only work on “select games” including Assassin’s Creed III, Call of Duty Black Ops 2, and Mass Effect.
The GamePad has it’s own set of stereo speakers, with a volume control on the back in the form of a slider, users can also plug in their own headphones. Nintendo have already announced that 3rd party headsets are going to be available for launch in the form of the Turtle Beach NLa Licensed Headset.
Motion control is again going to be a major feature for Nintendo in the GamePad with the built-in three axis accelerator, a three axis gyroscope and a geomagnetic sensor. Of course there is a rumble function amongst these sensors too.
The GamePad has Near Field Communication, which up to now has been most recognised for it’s use with titles such as Skylanders……woah, wait one sec, what’s Near Field Communication? I hear you say.
Like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, NFC is a method for exchanging data between two or more devices.
Instead of establishing connections across a wide coverage area, however, NFC was designed specifically for data transmissions between a very small distance, often within a range of only a few centimeters. The purpose of NFC is to offer a safe, two-way method of data exchange that can only work when two devices are within close proximity, foregoing the need for a Wi-Fi base station or Bluetooth pairing.
While NFC data transfer speeds are slower than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, establishing a connection is considerably faster and the chips powering the technology consume less energy.
Currently, NFC chips can be found on a number of smartphones, including BlackBerry devices, Nokia phones, and a number of Android devices. The recently released Samsung Galaxy Nexus can use NFCtechnology to transfer data, share web pages and apps, and even pay for items purchased at stores.
While the practical applications for smartphones and similar devices is clear, what could Nintendo have in mind for NFC in the Wii U?
Iwata stated that “it will become possible to create cards and figurines that can electronically read and write data,” which will enable the company to produce toys and other collectibles that can be used to unlock in-game content, similar to the kind found in Skylander’s Spyro’s Adventure. Additionally, Iwata went on to say that it “will enable various other possibilities such as using it as a means of making micropayments.” In a way, the Wii U could potentially use NFC as a way of adding currency to your Nintendo Network account, allowing users to buy prepaid cards at retailers and simply wave them near their console to add the value to their profile.
But the inclusion of NFC could hint at expanded functionality for the Wii U controller.
Currently there are no games that support two GamePads being simultaneously used, however it is 100% possible with the Wii U, but the only place you can order a controller separately is Japan! So, we’ll let you know when that changes…
That’s it for this I4T update, we’ll be back with another Wii U Pre-release update later in the week on our ‘Top 5 Wii U Games’ available on Day 1.
You can find and pre-order the Wii U in the UK from Amazon.co.uk here where available: http://bit.ly/AmazonI4TWiiUPacks. Our US visitors can pre-order the Wii U in the US from Amazon.com here where available: http://amzn.to/RezJqN and you’ll get your Wii U’s on the 18th November, you lucky devils!
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