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The Wii U ( ) is a
home video game console A home video game console is a video game console that is designed to be connected to a display device, such as a television, and an external power source as to play video games. Home consoles are generally less powerful and customizable than ...
developed by
Nintendo is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational video game company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. It develops video games and video game consoles. Nintendo was founded in 1889 as by craftsman Fusajiro Yamauchi and originally produce ...
as the successor to the Wii. Released in late 2012, it is the first eighth-generation video game console and competed with
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation producing Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services headquartered at th ...
's
Xbox One The Xbox One is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. Announced in May 2013, it is the successor to Xbox 360 and the third base console in the Xbox#Consoles, Xbox series of video game consoles. It was first released in North Amer ...
and
Sony , commonly stylized as SONY, is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. As a major technology company, it operates as one of the world's la ...
's
PlayStation 4 The PlayStation 4 (PS4) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15, 2013, in North America, November 29, 2013 in E ...
. The Wii U is the first Nintendo console to support HD
graphics Graphics () are visual perception, visual images or designs on some surface, such as a wall, canvas, screen, paper, or stone, to inform, illustration, illustrate, or entertain. In contemporary usage, it includes a pictorial representation of dat ...
. The system's primary controller is the Wii U GamePad, which features an embedded touchscreen, directional buttons, analog sticks, and action buttons. The screen can be used either as a supplement to the main display or in supported games to play the game directly on the GamePad. The Wii U Pro Controller can be used in its place as a more traditional alternative. The Wii U is backward compatible with all Wii software and accessories. Games can support any combination of the GamePad,
Wii Remote The Wii Remote, also known Colloquialism, colloquially as the Wiimote, is the primary game controller for Nintendo's Wii home video game console. An essential capability of the Wii Remote is its Motion controller, motion sensing capability, which ...
, Nunchuk, Balance Board, or Nintendo's Classic Controller or Wii U Pro Controller. Online functionality centers around the Nintendo Network platform and Miiverse, an integrated
social networking service A social networking service or SNS (sometimes called a social networking site) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career content, interests, act ...
which allowed users to share content in game-specific communities. Response to the Wii U was mixed. It was praised for its innovative GamePad controller, improvements to online functionality over the Wii, backwards compatibility with Wii software and peripherals, and price; however, it was criticized for its user interface and functionality, and the GamePad's short battery life. It had low sales, primarily credited to a weak lineup of launch games, limited third-party support, and poor marketing including the lack of distinguishing the unique functionality of the GamePad from just being a tablet device for the Wii. Wii U production ended in January 2017. On March 3, 2017, Nintendo released its successor, the Nintendo Switch, which retained and refined concepts introduced with the Wii U.


History


Development

The system was first conceived in 2008 after Nintendo recognized several limitations and challenges with the Wii, such as the general public's perception that the system catered primarily to a casual audience. With the Wii U, Nintendo wished to bring back core gamers. Game designer
Shigeru Miyamoto is a Japanese video game designer, video game producer, producer and Creative_director#Video_games, game director at Nintendo, where he serves as one of its representative directors. Widely regarded as one of the most accomplished and influen ...
admitted that the lack of HD and limited network infrastructure for Wii also contributed to the system being regarded in a separate class to the
PlayStation 3 The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment. The successor to the PlayStation 2, it is part of the PlayStation brand of consoles. It was first released on Novemb ...
and
Xbox 360 The Xbox 360 is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. As the successor to the Xbox (console), original Xbox, it is the second console in the Xbox series. It competed with Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nin ...
, the Wii's competitors. It was clear that a new console would have to be developed to accommodate significant structural changes, but ideas on which direction to take for the new console led to a lot of debate within the company, and the project started over from scratch on several occasions. The concept of a touchscreen embedded within the controller was originally inspired by the blue light on the Wii disc tray that illuminates to indicate new messages. Miyamoto and his team wanted to include a small screen to provide game feedback and status messages to players (similar to the VMU for
Sega is a Japanese multinational corporation, multinational video game and entertainment company headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are headquartered in Irvine, California and London, r ...
's Dreamcast). Much later in development, this was expanded to a full screen that could display the game being played in its entirety, a concept that was suggested but not financially viable earlier in the project. Public rumors surrounding the console began to appear in 2010, with speculation of an upcoming revision of the Wii scheduled for 2011 known as the "Wii HD", that would support high definition video and have a
Blu-ray The Blu-ray Disc (BD), often known simply as Blu-ray, is a Digital media, digital optical disc data storage format. It was invented and developed in 2005 and released on June 20, 2006 worldwide. It is designed to supersede the DVD format, and c ...
drive. However, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata later stated that he saw "no significant reason" to include HD into the Wii and that such an addition would be better suited for a successor. Miyamoto also expressed Nintendo's interest in working with HD graphics, but clarified that the company is primarily focused on gameplay. In October 2009, Miyamoto said that Nintendo had no concrete plans about its next console, but thought that the new system would continue to feature motion controls and also expected its interface to be "more compact" and cheaper. Iwata also mentioned that the Wii's successor might be 3D-compatible but concluded that the adoption rates of 3D televisions should increase to at least 30% first. In 2010, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé commented that he felt "confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it" and declared that a successor would not be launched in the near future. After its E3 2010 presentation, Iwata revealed to the
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that Nintendo would begin announcing a new console once it ran "out of ideas with the current hardware and cannot give users any more meaningful surprises with the technology". Later, at an investor's meeting, he disclosed that Nintendo was "of course studying and developing the next console to Wii", but it was simultaneously keeping its concepts secret because it was "really important for intendo'sbusiness to positively surprise people." Fils-Aimé also stated that Nintendo's next home console would likely not feature stereoscopic 3D, based on the 3D technology Nintendo had experimented with. In April 2011, an uncredited source indicated that Nintendo was planning to unveil a successor to the Wii known as "Project Café" at its E3 2011 presentation. Café was claimed to be a high definition console, and to also have backward compatibility with Wii software. Conflicting reports also surrounded the console's new controller, with reports suggesting a tablet-like device with an embedded touchscreen and the ability to stream games from the console directly to the screen, while others reported that the controller would be similar to the GameCube controller and feature dual analog sticks, shoulder buttons, and triggers.


Announcement

On April 25, 2011, Nintendo released an official statement announcing a system to succeed the Wii to be released during 2012, and that playable console units would be present at E3 2011. Speaking at an investor's conference, Iwata stated the Wii successor would "offer something new for home game systems." He also confirmed that the device would not launch in fiscal year 2012, meaning that it would release after April 2012. In early June, Nikkei issued a report confirming earlier rumors that the new console would feature a controller with a 6-inch touchscreen that would give tablet-like controls to games, as well as a rechargeable battery and camera. Project Café was officially unveiled as the Wii U during Nintendo's press conference at E3 2011 by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé; he explained that the Wii U would be "a system we will all enjoy together, but also one that's tailor-made for you". The rumored tablet controller was also shown at this time. No first-party games for the Wii U were announced during the presentation, but several major third-party studios announced games for Wii U in a pre-recorded video, the possibility of a new '' Super Smash Bros.'' game was teased, and Electronic Arts' then-CEO John Riccitiello appeared on-stage to discuss the company's prospective plans for products on the Wii U. Prototype hardware and a series of tech demos were available to attendees, showcasing gameplay concepts and the technological capabilities of the console—including a '' The Legend of Zelda''-themed graphics demo, and '' New Super Mario Bros. Mii''. In the two days following the unveiling of the Wii U, Nintendo's stock fell nearly 10% to levels not seen since 2006. Some analysts expressed skepticism in regards to the addition of a touch-screen, expressing concern that the controller would be less affordable and less innovative than the original Wii Remote. When asked about whether or not the Wii U was going to support stereographic 3D via 3D televisions, Iwata stated that it was "not the area we are focusing on." On January 26, 2012, Iwata announced that the Wii U would be launched by the end of the 2012 shopping season in all major regions and that its final specifications would be revealed at E3 2012. He also stated that the console would feature a unified online system known as Nintendo Network, which would feature user account support as opposed to the use of friend codes. Nintendo Network would also provide the framework for online multiplayer interactions, add-on content, as well as online distribution of applications and video games. Iwata mentioned that the Wii U GamePad would support NFC, which would allow the system to wirelessly interact with figurines and cards. It would also allow for microtransactions to take place wirelessly using credit cards with NFC support. On September 13, 2012, Nintendo announced that the Wii U would launch in Japan on December 8, 2012. Later that day, Nintendo announced that the North American launch date would be November 18, 2012. Nintendo of Europe and Nintendo Australia also announced that the Wii U would be released in both regions on November 30, 2012. In an interview with ''
GameSpot ''GameSpot'' is an American video gaming website that provides news, reviews, previews, downloads, and other information on video games. The site was launched on May 1, 1996, created by Pete Deemer, Vince Broady and Jon Epstein. In addition ...
'' the next day, Nintendo of America's Senior Product Marketing Manager Bill Trinen admitted that Nintendo's pre-launch marketing and presentations of the Wii U had focused too much on the GamePad, to the extent that some consumers mistook the device as an accessory for the existing Wii rather than a component of an entirely new platform. Trinen ensured that future promotional material for the console, including its packaging, would emphasize both the Wii U console and GamePad.


Release

The Wii U was originally released in two bundles: the Basic bundle and the Deluxe (U.S.) / Premium (WW) bundle. The Basic bundle contains a white Wii U with 8 GB of storage, a white Wii U GamePad, stylus and an HDMI cable, while the Deluxe (U.S.) / Premium (WW) contains a black Wii U with 32 GB of storage, a black GamePad and stylus, an HDMI cable, and adds a Nintendo Network Premium subscription, the '' Nintendo Land'' game (except Japan), as well as stands for the console and controller and the Sensor Bar (except Japan). The Wii U launched in North America priced at US$299.99 for the Basic Set and US$349.99 for the Deluxe Set. The system launched in Europe, Australia and South Africa, with European pricing set by retailers. The system launched in Japan priced at ¥26,250 for the Basic Set and ¥31,500 for the Premium Set.


Post-release

On July 13, 2013, Nintendo released a white version of the Premium Pack in Japan, as well as an official battery pack and charger dock for the Wii Remote. The battery pack is capable of about 3 hours of gameplay before needing to be recharged. On July 25, the company released an improved battery pack for the Wii U GamePad. In contrast to the standard 1500mAh battery bundled with the console, the new 2550mAh battery pack increases longevity to between five and eight hours before needing to be recharged. On August 28, 2013, Nintendo announced that the Deluxe (U.S.) / Premium (WW) 32 GB model would drop in price from US$349.99 to US$299.99 in North America. The price drop took effect on September 20, 2013. In Europe, Nintendo didn't confirm a formal price cut since individual retailers set their own prices. However, starting October 4, 2013, the company reduced the wholesale price of the system to retailers. Coinciding with the system's price cut, Nintendo released a limited edition '' The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD'' Wii U Deluxe Set bundle. The bundle included a black Wii U console with 32 GB of storage, a black Wii U GamePad decorated with a golden Triforce and other thematic symbols, a download code for the game and, in North America, a digital copy of '' The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia'', a collector's book about '' The Legend of Zelda'' series. In Europe, Nintendo also released a limited edition '' Lego City Undercover'' Wii U Premium Pack bundle. Both European bundles featured a 7-day trial of the '' Wii Karaoke U'' service. Nintendo did not cut the price of the Wii U in Australia or New Zealand nor did it release any of the previous bundles in the regions. On October 31, 2013, Nintendo introduced two new Wii U Premium Pack bundles in Japan, called the Family Set. The first included either a black or white Wii U console with 32 GB of storage, a black or white Wii U GamePad, '' New Super Mario Bros. U'' and '' Wii Party U'' preloaded, a black or white
Wii Remote The Wii Remote, also known Colloquialism, colloquially as the Wiimote, is the primary game controller for Nintendo's Wii home video game console. An essential capability of the Wii Remote is its Motion controller, motion sensing capability, which ...
, a Wii Sensor Bar, and a 30-day trial of the '' Wii Karaoke U'' service. The second bundle included all of the previous one's contents, additionally preloaded with '' Wii Fit U'' and including Nintendo's official Fit Meter pedometer (with the Wii Balance Board available separately). On November 1, 2013, Nintendo released a Mario & Luigi Deluxe Set in North America with the intention of replacing the original Wii U Deluxe Set, which included a copy of '' Nintendo Land''. The Mario & Luigi bundle contains both '' New Super Mario Bros. U'' and '' New Super Luigi U'' packaged as a "2 in 1" disc alongside a black Wii U console with 32 GB of storage and black Wii U GamePad controller. The bundle was later released in Europe on November 8. On November 14, Nintendo released a '' Just Dance 2014'' Basic Pack bundle in Australia and New Zealand. It contains a white Wii U console with 8 GB of storage, a white Wii U GamePad and Wii Remote Plus controllers, a Sensor Bar, and disc versions of both Ubisoft's ''Just Dance 2014'' and ''Nintendo Land''. The bundle was later released in Europe on November 22. On November 15, Nintendo released a '' Wii Party U'' Wii U Basic Pack bundle in Europe. It features a white Wii U console with 8 GB of storage, a white Wii U GamePad and Wii Remote Plus controllers, a Sensor Bar, and disc versions of both ''Wii Party U'' and ''Nintendo Land''. On November 15, Nintendo also released a '' Skylanders: Swap Force'' Wii U Basic Set bundle in North America. It contains white Wii U with 8 GB of storage, Activision's ''Skylanders Swap Force'' game, a Portal of Power, three Skylanders figures, a collector poster, trading cards and sticker sheets, and a ''Nintendo Land'' game disc. The bundle was released in Australia and New Zealand on November 21. On November 26, 2013, the Wii U was released in Brazil. However, the system is only available in the black Deluxe Set in the region. On January 10, 2015, Nintendo announced that it would cease selling consoles and games in Brazil due to the high cost of doing business in the country. On May 30, 2014, Nintendo released a '' Mario Kart 8'' Deluxe (U.S.) / Premium (WW) Set bundle in Europe and North America. It features a black Wii U console with 32 GB of storage, a black Wii U GamePad, a copy of ''Mario Kart 8'', a Sensor Bar, and special edition red Wii Wheel (North America only). Additionally, registering the game on
Club Nintendo Club Nintendo was a customer loyalty program provided by Nintendo. The loyalty program was free to join and provided rewards in exchange for consumer feedback and loyalty to purchasing official Nintendo products. Members of Club Nintendo earned c ...
before July 31, 2014 presents the buyer a free Wii U game from a selection of four in North America and ten in Europe. The bundle was released in Australia and New Zealand on May 31.


Discontinuation

In June 2015, the basic Wii U was discontinued in Japan, and replaced by a 32 GB "Premium" set that includes white hardware and a Wii Remote Plus. Nintendo had planned to diminish production of the Wii U ahead of the release of the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo formally announced the end of its production on January 31, 2017. The ability to purchase content through the Nintendo eShop will be discontinued on March 27, 2023.


Hardware


Console

The Wii U uses a custom multi-chip module (MCM) developed by AMD, IBM and Renesas in co-operation with Nintendo IRD and Nintendo Technology Development. The MCM combines an " Espresso"
central processing unit A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just Processor (computing), processor, is the electronic circuitry that executes Instruction (computing), instructions comprising a computer program. The CPU per ...
(CPU) and a "Latte" graphics chip (GPU), as well as a SEEPROM memory chip. The Espresso CPU, designed by IBM, consists of a PowerPC 750-based tri-core processor with 3 MB of shared L2 cache memory and clocked at approximately 1.24 GHz. Despite being based on the PowerPC 750, the Espresso also shares some architectural concepts with the POWER7 architecture, such as the use of eDRAM cache and being manufactured at a 45 nm node. The Latte graphics chip contains both a "GX2" GPGPU, which runs Wii U applications, and a "GX" GPU, which enables backward compatibility with Wii games. The GX2, designed by AMD, is based on the Radeon R600/ R700 architecture and is clocked at approximately 550 MHz. It contains 32 MB of eDRAM cache memory, which can also act as L3 cache for the CPU. The GX, originally designed by ArtX, contains a 1 MB and a 2 MB bank of eSRAM cache memory. The Latte chip also includes a secondary custom ARM9 processor with 96 KB of SRAM memory that handles system tasks in the background during gameplay or while the system is in sleep mode, and dedicated hardware audio DSP module.The console contains 2  GB of DDR3 system memory consisting of four 512 MB DRAM chips with a maximum bandwidth of 12.8 GB/s. This is 20 times the amount found in the Wii. Of this, 1 GB is reserved for the operating system and is unavailable to games. The memory architecture allows the CPU and GPU to access both the main DDR3 memory pool and the eDRAM cache memory pool on the GPU, removing the need for separate, dedicated memory pools. The console includes either an 8 GB (Basic) or 32 GB (Deluxe (NA) / Premium (WW)) internal eMMC
flash memory Flash memory is an Integrated circuit, electronic Non-volatile memory, non-volatile computer memory storage medium that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed. The two main types of flash memory, NOR flash and NAND flash, are named for t ...
, expandable via SD memory cards up to 32 GB and USB external hard disk drives up to 2 TB. The Nintendo Wii U can also use DVD-RAM for extended storage over USB. The Wii U features 802.11 b/g /n
wireless network A wireless network is a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes. Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and business installations avoid the costly process of introducing c ...
connectivity and support for
Fast Ethernet In computer networking, Fast Ethernet Ethernet physical layer, physical layers carry traffic at the nominal rate of 100 Mbit/s. The Classic Ethernet, prior Ethernet speed was 10 Mbit/s. Of the Fast Ethernet physical layers, 100BASE-T ...
with an accessory, Bluetooth 4.0, a total of four USB 2.0 ports, and an SD/ SDHC memory card slot.Delivers Advanced Wireless Connectivity to Nintendo's Wii U Gaming Experience
. Broadcom. Retrieved on August 23, 2013.
An additional power port is also included to power the Wii Sensor Bar, an auxiliary infrared emitter used by
Wii Remote The Wii Remote, also known Colloquialism, colloquially as the Wiimote, is the primary game controller for Nintendo's Wii home video game console. An essential capability of the Wii Remote is its Motion controller, motion sensing capability, which ...
peripherals for motion tracking. Video output options include
1080p 1080p (1920×1080 progressively displayed pixel In digital imaging, a pixel (abbreviated px), pel, or picture element is the smallest addressable element in a Raster graphics, raster image, or the smallest point in an all points addressable ...
,
1080i 1080i (also known as Full HD or BT.709) is a combination of frame resolution and scan type. 1080i is used in high-definition television (HDTV) and high-definition video. The number "1080" refers to the number of horizontal lines on the scre ...
,
720p 720p (1280×720 Pixel, px; also called HD ready, standard HD or just HD) is a progressive High-definition television, HDTV signal format with 720 horizontal lines/1280 columns and an aspect ratio (image), aspect ratio (AR) of 16:9, normally known ...
,
576i 576i is a standard-definition television, standard-definition digital video mode, originally used for digitizing analog television in most countries of the world where the utility frequency for electric power distribution is 50 Hz. Because ...
, 480p and
480i 480i is the video mode used for standard-definition television, standard-definition digital television in the Caribbean, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Laos, Western Sahara, and most of the Americas (with the exception of Argentina, Par ...
, through HDMI 1.4 and component video ( , D-Terminal and RGB SCART) or 576i, 480i anamorphic widescreen through composite video ( S-Video, SCART and D-Terminal). Audio output options include six-channel 5.1 linear PCM surround sound and analog stereo. The console also supports stereoscopic (3D) images and video.


Controllers

The Wii U GamePad is the console's primary controller: its main feature is a built-in 6.2 inch (15.7 cm) resistive touchscreen, which can be used as a companion to games being played on a television, or as a means of playing games on the GamePad itself without a television. The GamePad is designed to enable a concept referred to by Nintendo as " asymmetric gaming": in multiplayer games, a player using the GamePad may have a different gameplay objective and experience than other players. The GamePad's display contents are rendered on the Wii U itself, and streamed wirelessly as video to the GamePad. The GamePad also supports near field communications; cards and specially-designed figurines, such as Nintendo's
Amiibo (, ; officially stylized as amiibo; plural: ''Amiibo'') is a toys-to-life platform by Nintendo, which was launched in November 2014. It consists of a wireless communications and storage protocol for connecting figurines to the Wii U, Nintendo ...
line, can be used with the GamePad to interact with games. In Japan, it can also be used for contactless payments from eShop with Suica cards. A new Wii U Pro Controller was released alongside the Wii U. The Wii U Pro Controller is an updated version of the Wii's Classic Controller that is designed to appeal to " hardcore" players, with a more traditional gamepad design that resembles those used by the PlayStation and
Xbox Xbox is a video gaming brand created and owned by Microsoft. The brand consists of five video game consoles, as well as application software, applications (games), streaming media, streaming services, an online service by the name of Xbox netw ...
lines (and in particular, the
Xbox 360 The Xbox 360 is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. As the successor to the Xbox (console), original Xbox, it is the second console in the Xbox series. It competed with Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nin ...
's controller), and a claimed 80-hour battery life. The Wii U Pro Controller is compatible with supported Wii U games, but is not supported by Wii games. The Wii U is compatible with existing
Wii Remote The Wii Remote, also known Colloquialism, colloquially as the Wiimote, is the primary game controller for Nintendo's Wii home video game console. An essential capability of the Wii Remote is its Motion controller, motion sensing capability, which ...
and Wii Remote Plus controllers, along with their Nunchuk and Classic Controller attachments. A combination of up to four Wii Remotes or Pro Controllers can be used simultaneously, and the console can theoretically support up to two GamePads. Most software requires a Wii Sensor Bar in order to use Wii Remotes with the system, though some aspects, such as Off-TV Play and the Wii Mode, allow the Wii U GamePad to detect Wii Remotes. The Wii U does not support GameCube controllers – while a USB adapter accessory allows GameCube controllers to be used on the console in '' Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'', it is not compatible with any other software.


Software

The Wii U's main menu has two main components: by default, the GamePad displays a home screen consisting of a grid with shortcuts to games and apps, while the television screen displays a lobby (WaraWara Plaza) populated by other users' Miis. The two displays can be switched between the television screen and GamePad. Pressing the controller's "Home" button suspends the current game or app and opens the Home Menu: it shows basic information (such as the current time, controller battery levels, and notifications), and allows access to several "multitasking" functions, including the Nintendo eShop, Miiverse, download manager, a web browser, and the user's friends list. To play Wii games, the user must enter "Wii Mode", a legacy mode that emulates the Wii's system software and Wii Menu interface. Initially, Wii Mode could only be used on the television screen, but the October 2013 firmware update enables Wii Mode to be used off-TV. Either way, Wii controllers must be used.


Online services

The Wii U uses the Nintendo Network platform for online services (replacing the friend code system of the Wii), enabling online multiplayer, downloading and purchasing games or apps via Nintendo eShop, video chat using the GamePad's camera and the Wii U Chat service, and other services. Up to twelve accounts can be created per console. A
social networking service A social networking service or SNS (sometimes called a social networking site) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career content, interests, act ...
known as Miiverse is integrated into the Wii U's system software; it allows players to interact and share content in game-specific communities using their Mii as an avatar. Miiverse allows users to share accomplishments, screenshots, drawings and hand-written notes. Select games are integrated with Miiverse, where social interactions can also occur within the game, or appear within their content (such as in '' Splatoon'', where drawn posts can appear as graffiti on walls in its settings). Miiverse is moderated through software filtering as well as a human resource team in order to ensure that the content shared by users is appropriate and that no spoilers are shared. In order to facilitate this, it was initially stated that comments posted could take up to 30 minutes to appear on Miiverse.


Multimedia integration

The Wii U supports online video services through apps, such as Amazon Video, Crunchyroll,
Hulu Hulu () is an American subscription streaming service majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast's NBCUniversal holding a minority stake. It was launched on October 29, 2007 and it offers a library of films and television ser ...
,
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American video on demand#Subscription models, subscription video on-demand Over-the-top media service, over-the-top Streaming media, streaming service and production company based in Los Gatos, California. Founded in 1997 b ...
, and
YouTube YouTube is a global online video sharing and social media platform headquartered in San Bruno, California. It was launched on February 14, 2005, by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. It is owned by Google, and is the second mo ...
. The Wii U does not support playback of DVDs or Blu-rays; Iwata explained that the decision to exclude these formats was motivated primarily by patent licensing fees, and the fact that such functionality would be redundant to DVD and Blu-ray players that users may already own. The Nintendo TVii service allowed program listings from a user's television provider to be aggregated with online video on demand services into an electronic program guide with recommendations and search functionality, and the ability to use the GamePad's infrared functionality to tune a set-top box to a particular program. The app also provided integration with
IMDb IMDb (an abbreviation of Internet Movie Database) is an online database of information related to films, television series, home videos, video games, and streaming content online – including cast, production crew and personal biographies, p ...
,
Rotten Tomatoes Rotten Tomatoes is an American review aggregator, review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee ...
, and
Wikipedia Wikipedia is a multilingual Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, either by an individual speaker or by a group of speakers. It is believed that multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's ...
to provide additional information, and social connectivity through
Facebook Facebook is an online social media and social networking service owned by American company Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dusti ...
,
Twitter Twitter is an online social media and social networking service owned and operated by American company Twitter, Inc., on which users post and interact with 280-character-long messages known as "tweets". Registered users can post, like, and ...
, or Miiverse. TVii was made available with the Wii U's release in Japan on December 8, 2012, and in North America on December 20, 2012. Following delays, a European launch was cancelled. TVii was discontinued in North America on August 11, 2015 and was discontinued in Japan on November 8, 2017. The Netflix app was discontinued on July 1, 2021.


Games

Wii U games can be downloaded digitally through Nintendo eShop, or at retail on physical media. Retail copies of Wii U games are distributed on Wii U Optical Disc, a proprietary high-density
optical disc In computing and optical disc recording technologies, an optical disc (OD) is a flat, usually circular disc that encodes binary data (bits) in the form of Compact disk#Physical details, pits and lands on a special material, often aluminum, ...
format co-developed with
Panasonic formerly between 1935 and 2008 and the first incarnation of between 2008 and 2022, is a major Japanese multinational corporation, multinational Conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation, headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Kadoma, Osaka P ...
. The format is similar in design and specifications to a
Blu-ray The Blu-ray Disc (BD), often known simply as Blu-ray, is a Digital media, digital optical disc data storage format. It was invented and developed in 2005 and released on June 20, 2006 worldwide. It is designed to supersede the DVD format, and c ...
, with a capacity of 25  GB per layer, but the discs themselves have a soft, rounded rim. Unlike previous Nintendo consoles, game manuals are only available digitally. The console is region locked; software purchased in a region can be only played on that region's hardware. New games in Nintendo's flagship franchises (including Super Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda), as well as several '' Wii series'' games (including '' Wii Sports Club'', '' Wii Fit U'' and '' Wii Party U'') have been released, in addition to many original games and third-party-developed games. Nintendo has received third-party support from companies such as Ubisoft,
Sega is a Japanese multinational corporation, multinational video game and entertainment company headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are headquartered in Irvine, California and London, r ...
, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Activision Blizzard and
Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and video game publisher, publisher. It has created a number of List of best-selling video game franchises, multi-million-selling game franchises, with its most commercially successful being ''Resident Evil' ...
, and various independent developers such as Two Tribes. As of late July 2016, there have been 39 first-party and 118 third-party Wii U games physically released in the United States; both figures are the lowest for any Nintendo console. A total of 103.53 million Wii U games have been sold worldwide , with ten games surpassing the million-unit mark. The highest selling game is '' Mario Kart 8'' at 8.46 million units, followed by '' Super Mario 3D World'' at 5.88 million units, and '' New Super Mario Bros. U'' at 5.82 million units. '' Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'' was the fastest selling Wii U game .


Launch games

The Wii U was launched with 23 games in North America, 26 games in Europe, 25 games in Australia, and 11 games in Japan. Some download-only games were also available on launch day for the Wii U via Nintendo eShop. An additional 30 games were announced for release during the system's launch window, which included the three months after the system's launch date. Key: *NA
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
*EU
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
*JP
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north ...
*AUS
Australasia Australasia is a region that comprises Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. ...


Virtual Console

In January 2013, Nintendo announced that NES and Super NES games would be made available for the Virtual Console service on the Wii U in April 2013 and would include the option to use Off-TV Play on the GamePad. On March 26, 2014, Game Boy Advance games were confirmed and started to appear on the eShop the following month.
Nintendo 64 The (N64) is a home video game console developed by Nintendo. The successor to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it was released on June 23, 1996, in Japan, on September 29, 1996, in North America, and on March 1, 1997, in Europe and Au ...
and Nintendo DS games were added in April 2015.


Backward compatibility

The Wii U is compatible with all Wii games and Wii accessories such as the
Wii Remote The Wii Remote, also known Colloquialism, colloquially as the Wiimote, is the primary game controller for Nintendo's Wii home video game console. An essential capability of the Wii Remote is its Motion controller, motion sensing capability, which ...
( Plus), Wii Nunchuk, and the Wii Balance Board. It is possible to migrate most downloaded software and save files from a Wii to a Wii U. Although Wii games can be displayed on the GamePad's screen, they can only be controlled using a Wii controller, and not the GamePad's controller. The Wii U is not compatible with GameCube discs or accessories, although a homebrew application for Wii Mode exists that enables GameCube hardware and GameCube controller support. A USB GameCube controller adapter with four ports was released exclusively for use with '' Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'' and does not support any other Wii or Wii U games.


Development tools

The Nintendo Web Framework, unveiled in 2013, is a toolset that uses modern web technology ( WebKit,
HTML5 HTML5 is a markup language used for structuring and presenting content on the World Wide Web. It is the fifth and final major HTML version that is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendation. The current specification is known as the HTML L ...
, and
JavaScript JavaScript (), often abbreviated as JS, is a programming language that is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system enabling documents and oth ...
) to simplify the process of porting games to the Wii U's GamePad and TV. It was designed to make web-based games easier to port to the system than it would to code specifically for the Wii U. Nintendo also released a custom Unity package to allow game developers to quickly make games on Unity for the Wii U. These tools are no longer available on the Nintendo Developer Portal, however users who have these tools downloaded are still able to use them.


Reception

John Teti of '' The A.V. Club''s Gameological Society considers the Wii U a compelling video game system which lacks focus, citing ''Nintendo Land'' as "ideas act ngin service of the technology". Ben Gilbert of Engadget states that Nintendo delivers on its promise of releasing "a modern HD gaming console" but notes that "there are also some major missteps and half-baked ideas: a befuddling Friends List/Miiverse connection, a complete lack of many system-wide console standards (group chat, achievements, the ability to play non-game disc-based media) and a game controller that lasts only 3.5 hours", and stated that he could not give a complete assessment of the console with online components such as Nintendo TVii missing at launch. Similarly, '' TechRadar'' praised the system's GamePad functionality and HD graphics, but criticized the limited battery power on the GamePad, and the insufficient number of top-tier launch games. Some industry figures do not consider the Wii U to be an eighth-generation console, with many citing the hardware's processing speed. However, Fils-Aimé has noted that similar comments were made in 2006 when the Wii first launched. Following the launch of other eighth-generation consoles, the
PlayStation 4 The PlayStation 4 (PS4) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15, 2013, in North America, November 29, 2013 in E ...
and
Xbox One The Xbox One is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. Announced in May 2013, it is the successor to Xbox 360 and the third base console in the Xbox#Consoles, Xbox series of video game consoles. It was first released in North Amer ...
, in November 2013, some critics suggested that the Wii U would continue to struggle as it lacked the third-party support of its rivals. In a December 2013 article, Chris Suellentrop of ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid d ...
'' argued that the Wii U was the only new console with a video game worth playing—'' Super Mario 3D World''—which he described as being "the best ''Mario'' game in years". Despite the praise, he noted that "one great game won't save a console", and although other games exist on the Wii U, he admitted that its original lineup "was still pretty thin". ''Time'' writer Matt Peckham said that the Wii U was the system of choice to pick up during that Christmas season, praising the console's game lineup, affordable price, Off-TV Play, the absence of subscription fees for its online services, backward compatibility and media features. However, he noted that the system still needs a price cut and an improved first and third-party software lineup.
CNET ''CNET'' (short for "Computer Network") is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos on technology and consumer electronics globally. ''CNET'' originally produced content for radio and televi ...
also noted that the Wii U had a better lineup of games and lower price in comparison to its competitors, mainly due to its one-year head start.


Sales

By December 2019, Nintendo reported life-time sales of 13.56 million Wii U console units and by September 2022 103.53 million software units worldwide.


Launch

During its first week of release in the United States, Nintendo sold its entire allotment of over 400,000 units and sold a total of 425,000 units for the month of November, according to the NPD Group. It also sold over 40,000 consoles in the UK in its first weekend. In Japan, over 600,000 Wii U units were sold during December 2012. Nearly 890,000 Wii U units were sold in the United States after 41 days on the market. From the Wii U's launch till December 31, 2012, Nintendo reported that 3.06 million consoles and 11.69 million software units had been shipped worldwide.In January 2013, Nintendo sold 57,000 Wii U units in the US. By comparison, the original Wii sold 435,000 in January 2007, also two months after launch. Initial sales numbers in the U.S. and other territories were lower than expected, resulting in Nintendo cutting sales projections for
fiscal year A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is used in government accounting, which varies between countries, and for budget purposes. It is also used for financial reporting by businesses and other organizations. Laws in many ju ...
2013 by 17%, from 5.5 million to 4 million; the system actually ended up selling 3.5 million units. During the first quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 390,000 consoles and 1.73 million software units were shipped worldwide. From March to June 2013, the system sold approximately 160,000 units, which was down 51% from the three months prior. During the second quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 160,000 consoles and 1.03 million software units were shipped worldwide.


Loss of support

In May 2013, Electronic Arts announced that it was reducing support for the Wii U and had no games in development for it, but then partially reconsidered this decision a few days later, with EA's CFO announcing that "We are building titles for the Nintendo console, but not anywhere near as many as we are for PlayStation or Xbox". At E3 2013, Ubisoft revealed that it was not going to make any more exclusives for the Wii U until sales of the console improved, though it stated shortly thereafter that it was still a "big supporter" of the Wii U, and planned to release as many Wii U games in 2013 as it did in 2012. In July 2013,
Bethesda Softworks Bethesda Softworks LLC is an American video game publisher based in Rockville, Maryland. The company was founded by Christopher Weaver in 1986 as a Division (business), division of Media Technology Limited, and in 1999 became a subsidiary of Z ...
announced that it had no games in development for the Wii U, with Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines explaining: "It depends on the games that we are making and how we think it aligns with that console, and how the hardware aligns with the other stuff we are making". This explanation was later refined to being largely due to the hardware. Contrarily, Activision has stated that it will "do everything they can" to support the system. At the end of July 2013, Asda, the second-largest supermarket chain in the UK, confirmed that it had no plans to stock the Wii U, but would still stock games "on a title by title merit basis". Despite this, many specialist retailers continued to emphasize their support, with
Game A game is a structured form of play (activity), play, usually undertaken for enjoyment, entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considered to be work (such as professional players of spectator s ...
CEO Martyn Gibbs saying "We fully support all Nintendo products, including Wii U."


Price cut and first-party games

Following the system's $50 price cut and the release of '' The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD'' on September 20, 2013, Wii U sales in North America saw a 200% rise over August. From July to September 2013, the system sold approximately 300,000 units, which was up 87% from the three months prior. Despite only having sold 460,000 consoles since April, Nintendo maintained its 9 million Wii U sales forecast for the fiscal year through March 2014. Wii U software showed improvement in the Q2 period, reaching 5.27 million units, a 400% jump on the previous quarter. Nintendo credited the software growth to key first-party releases like '' Pikmin 3'' and ''The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD''. During the third quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 300,000 consoles and 5.27 million software units were shipped worldwide. In October 2013, online retailer ''Play.com'' announced that its Wii U sales saw a 75% sales increase. The company also predicted that the Wii U would be more popular than its competition, the
PlayStation 4 The PlayStation 4 (PS4) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15, 2013, in North America, November 29, 2013 in E ...
and
Xbox One The Xbox One is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. Announced in May 2013, it is the successor to Xbox 360 and the third base console in the Xbox#Consoles, Xbox series of video game consoles. It was first released in North Amer ...
, among children during the holiday season. Following the release of '' Wii Party U'' on October 31 in Japan, weekly Wii U sales spiked to 38,802 units sold. On November 29, 2013, Nintendo of France deputy general manager Philippe Lavoué announced that the Wii U had sold approximately 175,000 units in France since launch. During the first two weeks of December, the Wii U was the top performing home console in Japan, with 123,665 units sold. After one year in the market, the Wii U had sold approximately 150,000 units in the United Kingdom. According to the NPD Group, Wii U sales in November increased by 340% over sales in October in North America, selling approximately 220,700 units sold in that month. According to several publications, including NPD Group, December 2013 was the best-selling Wii U month in the US since its launch, selling around 481,000 units. Independent estimates put the number of Wii U consoles sold by the end of 2013 between 4.5 and 5.2 million. During the fourth quarter of 2013, Nintendo reported that 1.95 million consoles and 9.96 million software units were shipped worldwide. In January 2014, citing lower-than-expected sales during the 2013 holiday season, Nintendo announced that Wii U sales forecasts for fiscal year 2014 had been cut from 9 million units to 2.8 million. In light of this announcement, the Wii U's long-term viability had been called into question. In February 2014, Nintendo revealed that the Wii U had improved about 180% in year-over-year sales in the United States due to the launch of '' Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze'', which sold 130,000 copies. By February 26, Wii U sales had surpassed those of the
Xbox 360 The Xbox 360 is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. As the successor to the Xbox (console), original Xbox, it is the second console in the Xbox series. It competed with Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nin ...
in Japan. In March 2014, Nintendo sold just over 70,000 Wii U units, tracking it down 50% less than the GameCube and 90% less than the Wii during equivalent time periods. During the month, total worldwide sales of the
PlayStation 4 The PlayStation 4 (PS4) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15, 2013, in North America, November 29, 2013 in E ...
surpassed those of the Wii U. During the first quarter of 2014, Nintendo reported that 310,000 consoles and 2.91 million software units were shipped worldwide.During an annual investors' meeting, Satoru Iwata revealed Nintendo's projection of 3.6 million Wii U unit sales during the fiscal year ending . On May 22, 2014, Nintendo France announced that sales were 50% higher compared to the last year. With ''Mario Kart 8'' being Nintendo's biggest game launch, Wii U console sales reportedly increased by 666% in the United Kingdom, with the ''Mario Kart 8'' console bundle representing 82% of the region's Wii U console sales for the week. NPD Group reported that in the United States, when comparing the month of June 2013 to the same month in 2014, Wii U software sales were up 373% and console sales were up 233%. The record would be surpassed in November 2014 by '' Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'', which sold 490,000 copies in the United States during its first three days of availability. According to Nintendo of America, December 2014 was Wii U's biggest month in terms of sales in the United States. Hardware sales increased 29%, and software sales increased 75% in comparison to December 2013. In July 2015, Nintendo announced that as of the end of fiscal third quarter 2015, and nearly three years following its launch, it had shipped over ten million Wii U units worldwide. However, sales of Wii U units during this quarter were down in comparison to the same quarter in 2014, with 470,000 units sold (in comparison to 510,000 in 2014). In comparison, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had each yielded sales of ten million units after approximately one year from their respective launches.


Legacy

The future of the Wii U was left unclear with Nintendo's announcement of a new console platform codenamed NX, which was scheduled to be launched worldwide in March 2017. Nintendo stated that NX would have a "brand-new concept", and not be a direct successor to the Wii U or 3DS product lines; in an interview with the ''
Asahi Shimbun is one of the four largest newspapers in Japan. Founded in 1879, it is also one of the oldest newspapers in Japan and Asia, and is considered a newspaper of record for Japan. Its circulation, which was 4.57 million for its morning edition and ...
'', company president Tatsumi Kimishima reiterated this position and stated that while he thinks that the Wii U business would "slow" after the release of NX, he felt that the console would "have a larger impact than the Wii U". The announcement that '' The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild'' was in development for both Wii U and NX further supported Nintendo's view of the console as being a new product line, rather than a replacement for its existing hardware. In a shareholders report in July 2016, Kimishima and Miyamoto stated that they had expected the Wii U to sell one hundred million units, comparable to the success of the Wii, but with only thirteen million units sold worldwide, they would now need to rely on NX to make up for losses on Wii U sales. The new platform, now known as the Nintendo Switch, was officially announced on October 20, 2016; it is a tablet-like hybrid video game console with detachable controllers, and the ability to be placed in a docking station with an output to allow games to be played on a television. Although it is a hybrid device capable of being used as both a portable and home console, Nintendo officially positioned the platform as "a home gaming system first and foremost". Following the unveiling, a Nintendo spokesperson confirmed that the company would slow production of Wii U hardware, stating that "as we prepare for the launch of Nintendo Switch in March of 2017, Nintendo will ship 800,000 Wii U hardware units to the global market for this fiscal year." In mid-November 2016, Nintendo announced that Japanese production of the Wii U would be ending "in the near future", and that shipments to the North American and European markets for the year had already been sent out. In an interview with ''
Time Magazine ''Time'' (stylized in all caps) is an American news magazine based in New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the Unite ...
'' in January 2017, Reggie Fils-Aimé commented that the system was "a necessary step, in order to get to Nintendo Switch." Fils-Aimé also compared the system to the GameCube, claiming that the Wii U will be remembered fondly despite its relatively poor sales. Fils-Aimé stated that the commercial failure of the Wii U, specifically the lack of clarity of the Wii U GamePad's function, and the lack of support from third-party publishers to build out its software library, led to how they changed the marketing and promotion for the Switch. He said the Switch's promotion was developed "to make it crystal clear what the proposition is" for the systems, and that they had "strong support" from large and small software developers and publishers to support the new console. In mid-January 2017, Fils-Aimé told ''Polygon'' that ''Breath of the Wild'', which would ship at launch with the Switch in March 2017, would be Nintendo's final first-party game for the Wii U. Nintendo formally announced that production of the Wii U had ended worldwide on January 31, 2017. Despite this, the console had third party releases until 2020. Most of the Wii U's popular exclusive games have been re-released on the Nintendo Switch.


Notes


References


External links

* * {{Portal bar, Video games 2010s toys Backward-compatible video game consoles Discontinued video game consoles Eighth-generation video game consoles Home video game consoles Products and services discontinued in 2017 Products introduced in 2012 Wii hardware