Wii U outputs 1080p, uses flash storage

Nintendo of Japan has released a few more technical details on the Wii U, including HDMI output for 1080p resolution, internal flash storage, and the USB external HDD support.

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Nintendo's E3 press briefing this morning finally unveiled the company's next console, the Wii U. And while we saw a lot about the kitchen-sink of control options, we didn't get a lot of detail on the actual hardware specifications. Luckily, Nintendo of Japan (via Joystiq) spilled the beans.

The hi-definition output will be 1080p, through an HDMI connection. The site also mentions internal flash memory, plus an SD slot and USB storage. It doesn't detail how much internal memory the console will have, but the USB port is said to allow external hard drives, unlike its predecessors.

We'll have first-hand impressions of the console device and its tech demos coming soon.

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  • reply
    June 7, 2011 12:40 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Wii U outputs 1080p, uses flash storage.

    Nintendo of Japan has released a few more technical details on the Wii U, including HDMI output for 1080p resolution, internal flash storage, and the USB external HDD support.

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      June 7, 2011 12:42 PM

      I love that controller so much. It's going to be like having a DS with your TV as the main screen (top DS screen) and your controller as the touchpad (bottom DS screen).

      So cool­.

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        June 7, 2011 12:57 PM

        That's kind of how they let people think the DS would work with the Wii originally. And, there was the one FF game that did a form of that. I guess this is finally the realization of that. Interesting that it'll beam the game to the pad. Wonder how many players it'll be able to support like that. That could be a lot of wireless bandwidth.

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          June 7, 2011 1:31 PM

          FF:CC and LoZ:FS both used the GBA as a second screen pretty well, though neither had touch sensitivity. I have high hopes for some creative thinking (at least from Nintendo).

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        June 7, 2011 1:04 PM

        I am so stoked, can't wait to mess around with the mini-games on it tomorrow!

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      June 7, 2011 12:44 PM

      I would like someone to explain to me why development of consoles is so expensive when consoles these days are just recycled PC technology, sometimes verbatim, in a box with a limited OS.

      That being said, I am disappointed by Nintendo's "next generation" (aka, "next generation 2005) offerings and generic white box appliance styling.

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        June 7, 2011 12:47 PM

        I was thinking the same thing about console R&D as well.

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        June 7, 2011 1:09 PM

        Yep, the graphics look just like games from 2005. http://cdn1.gamepro.com/screens/108833/47702-29-2.jpg

        Exactly like them.

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        June 7, 2011 1:24 PM

        What are you talking about? This is pretty much only true for the original Xbox. For the most part consoles have custom chipsets, they have to have hardware DRM so to keep the pirates at bay, they have be compact...

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          June 7, 2011 1:30 PM

          So wouldn't it be possible to go to motherboard maker "X" and take one of the micro/mini atx designs and slap some hardware DRM on it? Yes, they would have to take out the ram slots and mount it direct, possibly same with the video card but generally isn't most of it there?

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            June 7, 2011 1:31 PM

            this is what they do.

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            June 7, 2011 1:31 PM

            yes, it really is lol. they just have expensive ass contracts for all the parts. so they get deep in the hole so they can subsidise it for us consumers.

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              June 7, 2011 1:39 PM

              Nintendo doesn't sell hardware at a loss though, right? It's part of their business model, Gamecube and Wii being sold for profit since day 1 being the recent examples?

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        June 7, 2011 1:44 PM

        Not as many components are off-the-shelf as you think. Even if they were, the integration is often not the same - meaning they have to custom build the mobo and layout of the components. There is also the matter of security. Most consoles encrypt each part of any communication channel. This is why you cannot use just any hard drive with an Xbox. The OS is also custom, even for MS. If they use off the shelf parts, they probably have to license there use in a commercial product. But, most parts are custom, so there is r&d to pay for as well as licenses. There's also manufacturing of the product. Tooling a plant to be able to assemble the end product. There's also manufacturing of the game disc (at least for now). All 3 require that they be the ones to press the disc. So, you have to develop/establish your supply chain for this. Since it's a custom OS you have to develop the necessary lock-check process for the new system. What do you have to require from a developer to ensure they don't do something dumb to wreck a customers console? Then you have to have a process to verify that for ever game you're going to allow to be published for your system.

        Bah, long winded way to say there is a LOT more to it than just shopping Newegg for parts, hacking a homebrew os and shipping a box that'll overheat - which is another part of it since consumers still don't like noisy devices next to their TVs.

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          June 7, 2011 2:04 PM

          Makes sense, although the OS should be ready to go. A recompile with added driver support for the new hardware (yes that may take a couple of months but still). I imagine you are right though on the hardware vendors wanting a lot of money to re-tool any hardware design to fit whatever Sony and Microsoft has in mind.

          Never thought about the supply chain part of it though. Good point...

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      June 7, 2011 12:47 PM

      Now.... Is it rendering in 1080p? Or is it rendering in a lower resolution and scaling to 1080p like most 360/PS3 games? So many questions...

      I'm surprised no one has mentioned that none of the demos show "2" controllers being used at the same time? I mean what is the point of having one of them and everyone else gets stuck with a wiimote? lol... It better be able to use 2 of those Wii U's on one system or it's instant fail!

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        June 7, 2011 12:52 PM

        You really want to buy more than one of the tablet controllers?

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          June 7, 2011 12:57 PM

          You kidding? How about sport games? Football? You not planning on having people actually over at your house to play games? Hehe. I mean there are multiplayer games where more than one controller is needed? How about poker style games? To limit one controller to the system is a pretty bad design.

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            June 7, 2011 1:34 PM

            I think they were doing that mainly because they only have so many prototypes right now and they wanted to emphasize hardware backwards compatibility.

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            June 7, 2011 1:46 PM

            Call it a hunch, but most local multiplayer games will be designed around one tablet and multiple wii remotes.

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              June 7, 2011 11:14 PM

              seems like whoever gets the tablet controler gets an unfair advantage in whatever the game is.

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      June 7, 2011 12:47 PM

      Can you find out if games will actually be rendered at 1080p or will the 1080p output just be upscaled 720p?

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      June 7, 2011 12:51 PM

      Interesting no demos showing 2 controllers being used on a game? Instead they show one controller with a bunch of wiimotes? WTF is that about...

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        June 7, 2011 12:54 PM

        Maybe there is only one used per game. Maybe it can't output more than 2 screens at once. If it was say beaming 4 different game screens to 4 controllers, it may kill the fucking console.

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          June 7, 2011 12:58 PM

          I would love how the Madden crowd or sport crowd would feel about the player next to you with able to choose plays and you can't! Hehe

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          June 7, 2011 1:35 PM

          I'm not sure the controller doesn't render those gfx itself... its not really clear. (unless I missed something) Since they're not crazy impressive gfx, they could just dump one of their DS chips in there for cheap.

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            June 7, 2011 2:00 PM

            The controller doesn't render anything. It's a controller. The console does the rendering and streams the video feeds through wi-fi to the controller.

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              June 7, 2011 2:22 PM

              I'm willing to believe you, its just that nothing i've read has been really clear on that, one way or the other. Any links?

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          June 7, 2011 1:45 PM

          Was wondering the same thing. That could be a lot of wireless bandwidth.

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            June 7, 2011 4:56 PM

            How come people play Online with OnLive (or whatever the name is).

            I'm sure local bandwidth (wireless-N) is enough for this.

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          June 7, 2011 1:45 PM

          probably depends on the developer and what is being rendered to the pads. So for sports games and calling plays, I'm pretty sure you guys are safe.

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          June 7, 2011 2:05 PM

          That would be very disapointing..

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      June 7, 2011 12:55 PM

      I am stoked. The ability to play games on a console with a controller that can divide the game UI into logical slices a la the DS, and to play those same games using only the controller--such as when someone else commandeers the TV--is freaking awesome.

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        June 7, 2011 1:34 PM

        it does have its appeal. Mostly the a-la-kart take it with you part. But I need to see more implementation of the split UI. What I have seen so far is a mix of "has amazing potential" and "meh".

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        June 7, 2011 1:35 PM

        Agreed, now my wife and I might be in the living room at the same time LOL.

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        June 7, 2011 1:55 PM

        What game on the DS splits the UI well? When I play DS I only look at the one screen until I have to actually stop and use the second screen.

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      June 7, 2011 12:59 PM

      Have they said anything about their multiplayer? Are they going to be treating everyone like 3 year olds again with their stupid friend codes for every freaking game?

    • reply
      June 7, 2011 1:03 PM

      IBM press release: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/34683.wss

      ....The all-new, Power-based microprocessor will pack some of IBM's most advanced technology into an energy-saving silicon package that will power Nintendo's brand new entertainment experience for consumers worldwide. IBM's unique embedded DRAM, for example, is capable of feeding the multi-core processor large chunks of data to make for a smooth entertainment experience.

      IBM plans to produce millions of chips for Nintendo featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 45 nanometers (45 billionths of a meter). The custom-designed chips will be made at IBM's state-of-the-art 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.....

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        June 7, 2011 1:16 PM

        wow, 45nm and not 32nm.

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          June 7, 2011 1:37 PM

          I'm a little surprised about that too, but given the volume and the fact that it's cheaper (and games are generally GPU bound anyways) I'm not too terribly worried. I wouldn't be surprised if later revisions were 32nm or smaller though.

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            June 7, 2011 2:13 PM

            No, 45nm is more expensive. It uses more materials to make the same parts on a chip. It uses more electricity. It produces more heat.

            However, it should produce more reliable yields - 45nm by now must be an extremely solid manufacturing size without nearly the same chip loss ratios as smaller processes.

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              June 7, 2011 2:19 PM

              That's what I meant by less expensive, it's less expensive in that it costs less/useful die than 32nm at this point. Also, the number of foundries capable of producing 45nm parts is likely much higher (and with much more available volume) than 32nm. Not that it's less expensive to use or in equivalent performance/die area.

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            June 7, 2011 2:16 PM

            I don't think a 45 nm cpu is going to hurt them that much. I think the real question is if they're going to back to ATI AMD for the GPU and what process they're going to use for the GPU. If they go 45 nm for the GPU that would be incredibly surprising.

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      June 7, 2011 1:25 PM

      What kind of optical drive is that? DVD or Blueray?

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        June 7, 2011 1:36 PM

        I will bet DVD, nobody but Sony is going to put a BR on a game console, just out of spite towards Sony.
        Streaming the is the future man!

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        June 7, 2011 1:37 PM

        Apparently it will run Wii games (and possibly GC too) but newer games will use some "proprietary format", whatever that means.

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        June 7, 2011 1:42 PM

        Nintendo says it's proprietary, but it might use blue-light technology.

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          June 7, 2011 1:57 PM

          How hilarious would it be if they bought HD-DVD tech from Toshiba.

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            June 7, 2011 2:13 PM

            I'm not sure how hilarious it would be. They'd probably get it for nickels on the dollar.

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              June 7, 2011 2:20 PM

              Well, I mean to see a dead format like that in use again. Might just tweak it a bit for securities sake.

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            June 7, 2011 2:17 PM

            That might actually be a smart move, as they would probably got it for quite cheap.

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            June 7, 2011 4:15 PM

            I was under the impression that Microsoft had already done this.

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          June 7, 2011 7:46 PM

          This is probably correct. They also say that Wii and GC disks are proprietary, but they're both very similar to DVD. So this will probably be similar to Blu-Ray, but slightly different so they don't have to pay licensing fees and to combat piracy.

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        June 7, 2011 3:17 PM

        Nintendo already stated that its a DVD with proprietary disc.

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      June 7, 2011 1:28 PM

      Dunno, in terms of gameplay options beyond what the DS can do they seem minor and honestly a little gimmicky to me. In three years when there is a new PS and Xbox this is just going to be home to a bunch of inferior ports and the rare exclusive, probably only from Nintendo as other devs will want a larger audience that isn't so casual that they rarely buy games. Once burned twice shy.

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      June 7, 2011 1:29 PM

      I love the concepts they presented in their video: http://wii.ign.com/articles/117/1173582p1.html

      The golf one was kind of cool

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      June 7, 2011 1:49 PM

      Hell yeah! My hopes semi-realised!

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      June 7, 2011 2:18 PM

      We can at least assume it is powerful enough to run Battlefield 3. Can't wait.

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      June 7, 2011 3:04 PM

      The wii - sleek, clean and nice looking

      The wii U - U is for ugly and toy like

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      June 7, 2011 4:23 PM

      This thing is so fucking crazy. Like just nutballs insane.

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      June 7, 2011 4:30 PM

      I slagged on the Wii quite a bit when it was released, but Nintendo has me intrigued with the Wii U. Seems like an incredibly smart use of wireless HD streaming technology to basically create a much cheaper iPad / tablet device with all the graphic horsepower of a dedicated game console. There are still a lot of unknowns though:
      * What's the price?
      * How much RAM and video memory?
      * How much flash storage built in?
      * Is wireless N built-in?
      * What is the performance, frame-rate and visual quality like compared to 360/PS3?
      * Will it play Blu-Ray discs?
      * Can games be installed and run from a connected USB hard drive to speed up load times and reduce noise and wear/tear of the disc spinning in the drive?
      * What kind of online service is Nintendo going to have for it, and how does it compare to Xbox Live and PSN?

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      June 7, 2011 7:36 PM

      My biggest concern for this new console is whether or not Nintendo will have an online service that will be able to compete with Xbox Live or PSN. If they fail to do that, then they risk alienating a lot of people over the long haul. In spite of it's success, the Wii did not appear to try to fill the same space as the 360 or PS3. The Wii U does appear to be directly competing in that same space now, so Nintendo will have to be able to compete seriously with their online service.

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      June 7, 2011 9:22 PM

      I don't know if I'm the only one but I'm not digging that controller. Looks very awkward, doesn't seem to be ergonomic. POS thumb nubs instead of full thumb sticks. You know it's just not going to be as good of a controller as on PS3 and 360. Most of all it looks gigantic and will take up a lot of space if you have 2 or 3 of them.