As the Wii U creeps ever closer to launch, Nintendo has been working hard to slake any would-be buyer’s curiosity concerning the system. Those out of the loop with Nintendo’s current campaign strategy might be surprised at the level of direct face-to-face time the company is investing with its consumers. Through a series of online videos, Nintendo is wisely informing the public on nearly every detail about the system before its launch. They even performed their own Wii U unboxing video.
Adding to the information roll-out, this week covers Wii U’s Nintendo Network, Miiverse and Internet Browser.
First up are accounts, needed to use many of the system’s features, particularly online. Nintendo calls them Users — not totally imaginative, but the subtle use of U seems to hit the right note. With up to 12 users on a single Wii U console, game saves can be specific to an individual user, which in turn will protect those saves (and friendships) from any accidental deletions. A Nintendo Network ID is required to access the eShop, Miiverse, Nintendo TVii, or Wii U Chat, which is easy enough to create and free unless users wish to shell out some dough for a premium service. To put it simply, Nintendo IDs will be old-hat to anyone with an Xbox LIVE or PSN account. All games on a system are open to every user and the transfer of Wii Shop purchases from other systems using an SD card will be a cinch.
Further on, the video illustrates the seamless integration of Miiverse and Wii U games with the more social aspects of the service. Here, something akin to Facebook wall posts are demonstrated — posting pics, liking (or yeah-ing?) and commenting, etc. Those who aren’t interested in this level of social interactivity might feel suffocated by Miiverse, as requests, sketches and comments begin to clutter their screens. Nintendo Land Plaza will serve as the social hub of Nintendo Land, where Miiverse allows users to communicate with each other through their Miis. Later, they demonstrate the ease in which users can pause and continue playing in another room using the Wii U Controller, as well as how to move between gameplay, TV or the Internet Broswer without complication. Nintendo has been quick to tout the Wii U Browser’s speed.
That’s a lot on software, but there are a few deets on hardware as well — more specifically, storage solutions. Currently there will be two bundles available at launch. The Basic bundle will provide 8GB of internal storage, while the Deluxe bundle will have 32GB. According to IGN, formatting will reduce reduce system storage to 7.2 GB for the Basic and 29GB for the Deluxe and that the Wii U’s OS will take 4.2GB, half of the Basic’s storage. They also note that New Super Mario Bros. U will require around 2GB and Nintendo Land will take on 3.2GB, completely rocking the Basic bundle’s starting storage space and making it a relatively pointless purchase, but perhaps that was their intention. Now, those wanting to use external storage may use up to a 2TB USB drive that must be formatted through the Wii U’s Data Management system. This will require PC users to do some partitioning. As mentioned above, Wii U will also accept SD cards, but their use is limited to PC, Wii Virtual Console, WiiWare and Wii saves, and not Wii U save data.
As a special bonus, IGN also recorded a comparison video displaying graphical differences between Wii’s New Super Mario Bros. and the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. U, a title boding well in early reviews. Please to enjoy.
Wii U will launch in North America on November 18, 2012, followed shortly thereafter by Europe and Australia, and finally Japan on December 8, 2012.
So, readers, are you convinced to buy a Wii U yet? The clock is ticking.
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