Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Jun 12

E3 2012: The next generation of consoles is (almost) here


Wii U with Gamepad

The Wii U heralds a new generation of gaming consoles

It’s been more than five years since the last generation of consoles arrived. Since console releases have historically operated on five-year cycles, many gamers have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next generation. With Nintendo’s press event at the E3 conference, we’re one step closer to their arrival.

While everything about the “PlayStation 4” or “Xbox 720” is only rumor at this point, Nintendo unveiled Wii U, the successor to the Wii, last November.

Here’s what we already knew: Wii U will catch up to Microsoft and Sony by offering Full HD video. It will utilize a controller called the Gamepad, which features an integrated 6.2” touchscreen in addition to traditional buttons. The Wii U system will also be backwards-compatible with Wii games and remotes, although it will not support Gamecube games.

During today’s keynote, they released more details about the upcoming console. Wii U will support dual Gamepads. Through their online Miiverse network, Nintendo announced that the system will support streaming from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video-on-Demand, and YouTube. They also announced a handful of launch titles, most notably Wii Fit U (the next iteration of the popular workout series), and NintendoLand. As the spiritual successor to Wii Sports, NintendoLand is designed to show off the various functions of Wii U, with the help of classic Nintendo franchises.

There are a few remaining questions after today’s presentation. When will Wii U be available? Though it’s widely speculated to release during the fourth quarter of this year, we’d love some official confirmation. Secondly, what will it cost? Finally, we appreciate that the specs of Nintendo’s new console close the gap between the Wii and the 360 and PS3, but how will Wii U differentiate itself? While Wii U’s game slate does offer some of the titles that made the Wii popular with “non-traditional” gamers, games like ZombiU, Assassin’s Creed III, and Darksiders II make it seem like they want to square up against Sony and Microsoft’s established juggernauts, which makes this gamer wonder if it’s too little, too late.

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