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Nintendo finally explains how the Wii U works

By / 11.14.12

Sure they waited until the absolute last minute, but at least we have details on how the Wii U works at long last.

Can you believe that the Wii U comes out in just four days? Given how this might be Nintendo’s most important hardware release ever, it’s nuts how we still know almost nothing about the thing. Thanks to a supremely confusing E3 and overall radio silence, we’ve had tons of questions that have remained unanswered.

Until now. Nintendo has released the following video, which pretty much explains everything. It actually incorporates footage from several other clips that was recently released for the Japanese market. It’s close to 15 minutes long, but pay attention, because a LOT of ground is covered (which I will detail, bit by bit, afterward)…

Okay, time to go over the most important parts:

- Right from the beginning, it’s clear that Nintendo has learned a few things from the competition. Specifically how Microsoft handles user accounts, which is a very good thing. Having settings and saves governed by one’s Mii makes a ton of sense and is gladly welcome.

– My initial reaction to the Nintendo Network ID was “great, so I have to manage two forms of identity?” But then I realized that having a Mii is basically like having a Silver Membership on XBLA, and having access to the Nintendo Network is just a Gold Membership.

– Best part is how the Nintendo Network ID is totally free, unlike Microsoft’s offerings. Even better is how Nintendo is doing away with those f*cktarded friend codes. Thank God.

– Unfortunately, not enough info was ultimately divulged. While it’s nice to know that the Nintendo Network ID will govern online purchases from this point forward, what about stuff I’ve already bought? Like for the 3DS? The fact that the handheld was not mentioned talking about potential other hardware uses is frankly troublesome.

– Another troubling bit is something that is only lightly touched upon, but was addressed directly in a previous clip for the Japanese market: every time you start up the Wii U… and we’re talking every time… the system will download what was called a “network update” by the President of the Nintendo, in a prior video. This contains necessary info, and he made it abundantly clear that it could take a while to download due to its sheer size,

And until it finishes, you really can’t do anything. This might be for purely technical or legal reasons, and already sounds like bad news. We’re talking how you can’t just play a damn PS3 game without downloading and installing a required update, which is why the online experience on that system sucks so badly. Perhaps I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but just call it a hunch that this will be the one thing that EVERYONE hates about the Wii U.

– On the plus side, it’s nice to know that pretty much everything from the Wii can be transferred to your new system. Not just downloaded games, but save files as well (which were all lost when migrating content from the DS to 3DS).

– Next we have a vignette that illustrates how Miiverse works, which is fine and dandy. I dig how I don’t have to necessary leave a game to find help, which involves Googling some for a FAQ or dealing with idiots on a message board. True, I may have to resort to such means, but it’s nice to now I have an extra option.

– As for the second clip, the best part here is how it shows that Nintendo might finally have a clue as to who actually plays games these days. The dude that stars in both is not the usual PR puppet that Nintendo usually loves to parade around. He’s a regular chill bro who acts like all of us. I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of times in which I’m just playing a game and all of a sudden, I decided to check some random nonsense on Wikipedia. And I too like to have TV playing in the background while gaming.

Someone apparently got the memo that the lives of their customers no longer revolves solely around Nintendo, and that they have tons of options as it pertains to digital entertainment, so they had better get with the program and make things as hassle free as possible, less they completely lose their marketshare. Perhaps I’m reading too much into things once again, but I want to believe that Nintendo might actually be serious about taking back some market share.

Anyhow, there you go, the Wii U. All we need now are some games! Too bad that’s an entirely different story.


TAGSGamingNintendoVideo gameswhat is the Wii Uwii uWii U specs
About Matt Hawkins... Matt Hawkins is an NYC based video game journalist, designer, consultant, and cultralist. He's been published in EGM, Kotaku, and MSNBC amongst others. Matt also makes comics and zines, is obsessed with cable access, gets into arguments with homeless people all the time, and once had his nipple bitten off during a one night stand. But that's neither here nor there.

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