How Wii U hardware improves upon the original Wii beyond graphics

Many of the improvements made to the Wii U hardware over the original Wii are quite obvious. But ignoring the system's new HD graphics and snazzy GamePad tablet controller, what else has Nintendo done to enhance the user experience?

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Many of the improvements made to the Wii U hardware over the original Wii are quite obvious. But ignoring the system's new HD graphics and snazzy GamePad tablet controller, what else has Nintendo done to enhance the user experience?

There are a number of minor details that Nintendo fans will certainly appreciate. For example, the cover for the expansion slot on the Wii U goes in, instead of out. The sync button is no longer a puzzle to figure out--it's right on the outside of the console, making it easier to connect peripherals to the console.

Wii U also has additional USB ports. Whereas the Wii only had the ports in the back, Nintendo's new console has them on both the front and back. (It's something we wish Sony would learn one of these days...)

Nintendo's Ko Shiota also notes that every system comes with an HDMI cable as a standard accessory. "We want as many people as possible to enjoy HD images," he said when asked by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.

"Not many devices out there come with an HDMI cable yet," Iwata points out. But if you don't have an HDTV yet, Iwata does point out that "you can use the cable that came with the original Wii, but that wouldn't make the most of the Wii U's capabilities."

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  • reply
    October 11, 2012 10:45 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, How Wii U hardware improves upon the original Wii beyond graphics.

    Many of the improvements made to the Wii U hardware over the original Wii are quite obvious. But ignoring the system's new HD graphics and snazzy GamePad tablet controller, what else has Nintendo done to enhance the user experience?

    • reply
      October 11, 2012 11:23 AM

      "Not many devices out there come with an HDMI cable yet," Iwata points out.

      Whattttt???

      The PS3 does. So do some 360's. And adding in the HDMI cable is pretty standard for every single device sold at Costco, and most other stores are now trying to compete by throwing one in for free on the side.

      Add to that the fact that an HDMI cable can now be had for the price of an extra value meal at your local fast food drive through, and really, claiming that as some kind of big value add is a bit disengenous.

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        October 11, 2012 11:34 AM

        i don't remember an HDMI cable being included with my Xbox 360 Elite or PS3 Slim (the last one, not the current one)

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        October 11, 2012 11:37 AM

        Current PS3 models do not come with an HDMI cable.

        My 250 GB Xbox 360 S did, but I don't know if it's still standard or whether the 4 gig models have it.

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        October 11, 2012 11:38 AM

        Are you sure about that? The generic PS3 comes with AV cables and the non-elite 360s come with component, as far as I know.

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          October 11, 2012 12:41 PM

          That is correct. During the launch days of the 360 they had an interesting dual cable that did both component and compositie via a flick switch. I don't know what the percentage of console users utilize the HDMI port but it's lower than I expected in the last user study.

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        October 11, 2012 11:49 AM

        I don't think I've ever had a console or any other device come with an HDMI cable. The only thing I ever got which came with an HDMI cable was my Verizon FIOS router, which I was extremely happy about.

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        October 11, 2012 11:58 AM

        I think you're dreaming, dreamwraith. Fucking nothing comes with an HDMI cable these days. Besides being a cost cutting measure it keeps them from angering the Best Buys and Walmarts of the world.

        Maybe the day-one $600 PS3 did but that's about it.

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          October 11, 2012 6:25 PM

          I actually got an HDMI cable with my Xbox 360 Elite, I think dreamwraith's right

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        October 11, 2012 12:13 PM

        LIES! I have a ps3 slim to prove it DOES NOT come with a HDMI cable. Get your facts straight.

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        October 11, 2012 12:16 PM

        pointing and lol'ing

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        October 11, 2012 1:15 PM

        what the fuck utopia do you live in where electronics come with cables?

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        October 11, 2012 3:49 PM

        even if it were true, its not a big deal anymore. most people have figured out they dont need $100 monster cables and can just buy a $10 or less hdmi cable online.

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        October 11, 2012 3:52 PM

        Hey. Come back and apologize for this post pls.

      • reply
        October 11, 2012 6:00 PM

        WRONG

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      October 11, 2012 11:39 AM

      It's an interesting read though time will tell if they made the right decisions.

      Does an energy efficient console matter to consumers?
      Does a quiet console matter to consumers?
      Does a small console matter to consumers?

      I think that most of their design considerations are made for the average Japanese household instead of American or European households. They are a Japanese company after all.

      They also have to balance power vs price as they're including a touch screen controller with every system and I think it would be fair to say that most families around the world are still hurting in some way from the 08 economic meltdown.

      That said my only concern about the system had always been Multiplatform support once Durango/Orbis start to gain momentum. Hopefully it isn't so outclassed (in terms of raw horsepower) by the next 2 that devs won't be able to take down-ports. That would give it the same fate as Wii (and to a lesser extent the gamecube) and I feel that would be unacceptable later in it's life cycle as quality software dries up.

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        October 11, 2012 1:09 PM

        Depends on when Durango and Orbis launch, there's rumor neither of them will show up in 2013, hopefully not true, but if the earliest they show is fall of 2014 then the next "Wii" console will be only about 3 years away from then and the Wii U should be out long enough to be able to make up a large part of the difference simply due to optimizations.

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          October 11, 2012 1:16 PM

          It will be interesting if Nintendo and Sony/MS end up leapfrogging generations. 720/PS4 come out, 3 years later Wii U2, three years later 720/PS4. Would definitely work in Nintendo's favour because they don't have to fight face-to-face at the power game from the same point. This enables them to hit all their other targets like cost, size, power consumption and still have better "graphics" than the competition.

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        October 11, 2012 1:13 PM

        You pretty much reflect my thoughts and opinions on Wii U. I'm happy to pay a bit more for more power and I don't mind if it sucks more juice and is bigger.

        For me, I'm comfortable believing (Based on educated speculation by knowledgeable people) that it will quite easily outshine current gen consoles when utilised. However my concern is for multi-platform titles when the next XBox and PlayStation come. So long as the machine is capable and the publishers willing, it see it as a very successful machine for the core gamer and for me.

        Then of course, the nice price, power consumption, size and GamePad potential will all be nice attractive propositions to the "mainstream" consumer.

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        October 11, 2012 6:52 PM

        I'm pretty sure a quiet does matter. Don't you remember all the hate the original PS3 and 360 got because they sounded like a vacuum at times?

        Energy efficient and size don't really matter (size only matters because it can be made fun of)

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      October 11, 2012 4:14 PM

      The most important stats: 1 GB system RAM, 1 GB video RAM, and it lets the user plug in their own USB-connected hard drive. Regardless of what critics say of the CPU or video chipset performance, it's awesome for console developers to have access to that much RAM, and not have to cut down their game as much to fit into 256 MB system / 256 MB video (PS3), or 512 MB unified (360).

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        October 11, 2012 6:07 PM

        It's actually 2GB unified but split between 1GB for OS use and 1GB for game use. it's also important to note that the optical disc read speeds peak at 22.5 MB/sec (vs. the ps3's 72Mb/sec or 9MB/sec) and that they like to have large amounts of L2 and L3 cache to keep the data bottlenecks to a minimum.

        So while on paper, the raw ram,cpu, and gpu numbers won't look that impressive, they do a really smart job of letting developers squeeze the most out of it to start off instead of waiting until 3-4 years into the consoles' life span to "unlock it's true potential". Not that important to us but I'm sure it's great for developers trying to make games on it.