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What is the Wii U And How Much Does It Cost? Explaining Nintendo's New Console

Updated on February 12, 2013

All of the talk in the gaming world seems like it is about Nintendo's Wii U. This successor to the original Wii is going to be a significant upgrade. But what exactly is the Wii U? What makes it so special? There's a lot of talk about new controllers, but how do the Wii U controllers work? How much is the Wii U going to cost? Will the price drop?

These are all very reasonable questions, especially for the non-gamer. Read on to find out all of the important information about the Nintendo Wii U and find out what all of the buzz is about!

What is the new Wii U console?

The Wii U is the latest console coming from Nintendo and a significant upgrade over the older, more limited Wii hardware. The Wii U has a multi-core IBM processor and a AMD Radeon GPU capable of outputting HD graphics.

The amount of storage space available for the Wii U will depend on what model you purchase. The Basic package includes 8 gigs of flash memory while the Premium Wii U has 32 gigs of space. For more information about the difference between Wii U, visit this helpful guide between the different versions of this new console.

Does the Wii U Play DVDs or BluRays?

No, the Wii U Does not play DVD or BluRay movies. The HD optical discs used by Nintendo for their new console are not compatible with the discs typically used to play video for modern consumers.

However, unlike the original Wii, the Wii U has a number of Video on Demand options which will allow users to enjoy their favorite television programs and movies streaming over the internet.

What is the Wii U Controller?

Other Wii U Controls

Wii Nunchuck Control
Wii Nunchuck Control
Wii U Pro Controller
Wii U Pro Controller

One of the big selling points of the Wii U is their unique Wii U GamePad. The Wii U GamePad controller is a touch based tablet that doubled as a controller. The touch screen is similar to the one included in the Nintendo DS line of handheld consoles. Measuring in at over six inches wide with a 16:9 aspect ratio, this screen doubles as a second play window in addition to your television.

In fact, one of the unique aspects of the Wii U is that many games will allow you to play using the tablet while the television is otherwise engaged. Imagine this scenario: one member of the household is busy watching television but but the big Wii U fan is really anxious to sit down and start playing. By using the GamePad, you can watch TV and play games at the same time.

In addition to the touch screen, the Wii U controller has a traditional cross shaped directional button, four shoulder buttons, four face buttons, and two analog thumb sticks. Using both touch and traditional control.options, players can enjoy games in an all new way.

Wii U GamePads are not currently available through retail. While the Wii U can support up to two touch controllers, bundles will only come with a single tablet. If you want a second one or to replace a broken pad, you'll have to contact Nintendo directly.

The touch screen isn't the only type of controller you can use for the Wii U, however. The Wii U can support five or more players at one time, so you'll need to have some non-GamePad controls to enjoy the full WiiU experience.

Wii U nunchuck controllers will still be viable for playing on the WIi U, and in fact will be required for certain games like Just Dance 4. If you have some of these from the original Wii, you will be able to continue using them on the Wii U.

Some games might be best suited for the Wii U Pro controller. Featuring all of the buttons and triggers of the GamePad in a smaller package, the Pro very closely resembles an Xbox 360 controller. This more traditional gaming accessory is perfect for the hardcore gamer who is not interested in motion controls or party games.

What does the Wii U Cost?

At launch, the Wii U's MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) is $299 for the Basic package and $349 for the Wii U Deluxe package. Prices can fluctuate over time, but most big box retailers will be beholden to honor these prices.

Unfortunately, at launch most stores are sold out of Wii U stock. Sites like GameStop, Best Buy, and do not have any directly available for retail. If you're not able to find a Wii U through traditional retail stores, it is possible to find a console from third party retailers on eBay and These sellers are not affiliates with a big business and are often significantly more expensive than the MSRP. While the markup might make some bulk, if you are really determined to own a Wii U at launch it might be the only option.

Will the Wii U Price Ever Go Down?

As time goes by, Nintendo will be able to produce enough consoles to meet consumer demand. However, it is unlikely that there will be any change in the scarcity of the Wii U until after the Christmas shopping season.

Click for a comparison between the Wii U's tablet and the iPad


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