“How U Will Play Next”
The Wii U is Nintendo's latest home console and the successor to the Wii. It was announced during Nintendo's conference at E3 2011. The main feature of the Wii U is its controller, the GamePad, which has a touch screen, camera, buttons and other new features. According to Yoshiaki Koizumi, the Wii U was never shown to Nintendo's software development team prior to its unveiling at E3 2011. The Wii U was the third Nintendo console to be released in North America before Japan, the other two being the Wii and Nintendo DS.
The Wii U console is similar in appearance to the Wii, except with rounder sides, a slot to insert 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs as well as the Wii's DVD optical discs, and is also much longer. The console can play high-definition games at 720p and 1080p, the first of Nintendo's consoles to do so. The console itself is approximately 4.6 cm or 1.8 tall, 17.3 cm or 6.8 wide, and 26.7 cm or 10.5 long. Since it is placed on its side, it slightly resembles the Wii Family Edition.
The Wii U supports all of the controllers (and respective peripherals) used with the Wii: the Wii Remote, the Nunchuk controller, the Wii Remote Plus, the Classic Controller, the Classic Controller Pro, and the Wii Balance Board. Like the Wii, it is compatible with the Wii hardware or software. However, similar to the Wii Family Edition, it is not compatible with the Nintendo GameCube hardware or software. Instead, players may have the option of downloading Nintendo GameCube games on the Wii U in the future.
Currently, the Wii U has support of six-player games if four players use 4 Wii Remotes, one player uses the GamePad and one player uses the Wii U Pro Controller, which has been used in Need for Speed: Most Wanted for Wii U. The Wii U has support for 2 GamePads, but this has not been used for any games yet, and is not currently sold at retail. Like Nintendo's previous home consoles, it won't play DVDs or Blu-ray discs. The console has an internal flash memory, holding up to 8 GB for the standard set, and up to 32 GB for the deluxe set. Additionally, the Wii U has the option to expand its memory by using an external USB hard disk drive. However, even though the Wii U has an SD Card slot, SD Cards cannot be used for Wii U data storage (excluding Mii storage), meaning that they can only be used for storing Wii data, via, the Wii Menu. This also means that Wii U game data can't be transferred onto other Wii U systems.
It should also be noted that the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector is incompatible with the Wii U system. As a result, players need to establish a wireless internet connection on their internet routers in order to use any of the Wii U's internet features. Games will also be digitally downloaded from the console. The Wii U connects to the internet using Nintendo Network, the successor to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
Wii U GamePad
The Wii U GamePad is the main controller of the Wii U console. The GamePad has a 6.2 inch (15.7 cm) touch screen in the center, and is the first ever controller for a home video game console to have this feature. Its button layout is somewhat similar to that of the Nintendo 3DS, having the traditional to the left of the screen and the , , , and buttons to the right. The GamePad has two traditional , one on each side of the screen and over the traditional buttons. The sticks are slightly displaced nearer to the edges of the controller and are clickable. The and buttons are located behind the GamePad, as are the and buttons. Below the screen is the button, situated between the microphone aperture and the battery light, and next to the light there is the TV button. The select button and start button are found below the ABYX buttons. The button is directly below the screen right to the TV button. The controller also has a NFC sensor, able to read objects or codes near to the controller. It can be used with a stylus and features a frontal camera, a microphone, a stereo speaker, sensor strip, rumble system, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, rechargeable battery and built-in flash memory to store data.  Using the controller, one can browse the internet, send videos, flip channels, take screenshots, and connect to Miiverse while playing any game. It can also be used as universal TV control. Video chat is also included but cannot be executed while playing. Games for this console can be played on the TV screen, the controller screen, or a combination of both, known as asymmetric gameplay. The controller cannot be used to play Wii games.
Wii U Pro Controller
The Wii U Pro Controller is an alternate peripheral for the Wii U console. Introduced by Satoru Iwata in a Nintendo Direct video on June 3, 2012, the Wii U Pro Controller is somewhat similar to the Wii's Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro and the GameCube Controller by the frontal button layout and that it has grips. However, the , , , , and the are found below the , also clickable, the only thing besides the button names that sets its layout apart from that of the Microsoft Xbox 360 controller. The player's number's lights from the Wii Remote, and the , have been added in the center of the controller, as it is wireless and battery-powered. The Wii U Pro Controller is also slightly bulkier than the Wii's wired controllers, and the and are arranged differently as actual trigger buttons, similar to how they were arranged on the Classic Controller Pro, though they are now pressure sensitive. The controller shares the same battery as the 3DS and can last working for 80 hours approximately. When using it in the home menu, the left controls the pointer. Like the Wii U GamePad, the Pro Controller is incompatible with Wii games. New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 are compatible with this controller, in addition to the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
GameCube Controller Adapter
The GameCube Controller Adapter is a peripheral allowing use of Nintendo GameCube controllers for compatible Wii U games. It was announced on May 29, 2014 during of a video published by Nintendo overviewing the Super Smash Bros. Invitational at E3 2014, and has been confirmed to be released during the 2014 holiday season. So far, GameCube controllers have only been confirmed as an input method for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, but Nintendo says that they "plan to utilize [it] in future Wii U releases". It has 4 ports for GameCube controllers, and plugs into the Wii U through two USB ports; one is for power, while the other is for receiving and sending input.
amiibo is an upcoming line of figurines usable in compatible Nintendo titles. By placing a figure on the Wii U GamePad's near-field communicator, the amiibo is able to interact with the game. The product line will launch in late 2014, with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U as the first title to be compatible with the line. amiibo functionality has also been announced for Mario Kart 8, as well as the upcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10, and Yoshi's Woolly World. Certain amiibo figures will also be compatible in others games (i.e. the Super Smash Bros. Mario will be compatible with Mario Kart 8 and Mario Party 10, having the amiibo functionality programmed for those games). A Nintendo 3DS peripheral has also been announced to be released in 2015, allowing amiibo compatibility for the handheld.
In addition to being compatible with Wii software, the Wii U is also compatible with most Wii controllers and accessories.
Wii Remote, Wii Remote Plus, & Nunchuck
Both types of controllers make a full return in almost every Wii U game, acting as the common second controller for multiplayer action. In certain titles, it can also be used instead of the GamePad. New Super Mario Bros. U, for example, demonstrates how the Wii Remotes act as the second controllers moving Mario and co. while the player with the GamePad places platforms to help or hinder the players. Other titles such as Pikmin 3 can be completed only using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, without the need for the GamePad.
Wii Balance Board
The Wii Balance Board will be reusable for upcoming Wii U titles, Wii Fit U in particular, with no added features.
Like all the other Wii-originated peripherals, the Wii Zapper will also be utilized in certain games. While no release titles or announcements have appeared to use this accessory extensively, a tech demo called Shoot Mii uses the Zapper, however in conjunction with the GamePad. The latter is placed on to the gun, acting as a periscope, although for this to work a holder is needed to attach the Pad to the peripheral. How this holder will be distributed is currently unknown.
WaraWara Plaza ("bustling plaza" in English) is the main menu for Wii U. This feature allows players to see Miis on-screen gathering around accessible tiles. The Miis represent all the player's friends, familiars and miscellaneous individuals who are using the service, and the tiles they are surrounding represent where they are communicating in real time. Because the tiles are integrated with Miiverse, the user can explore the topics on every tile and look up what games their friends are playing. WaraWara Plaza also offers chat, video conference and information sharing, and it can be quickly accessed even when playing a game by pressing the button. The WaraWara Plaza had a different design shown in Nintendo Direct's pre-E3 video, as it featured some game icons in the middle of the plaza.
Miiverse is a built-in social network also integrated with WaraWara Plaza to bring people together to share ideas and comments on the games they are playing. Players can make posts in game communities where others can respond to them, as well as follow other users and add friends. First accessible on the Wii U and on the Internet, Miiverse is also an application for the Nintendo 3DS and smartphones.
Wii U Chat
Wii U Chat is an inbuilt application allowing users to communicate in real-time with other Wii U owners using the inner camera of the Wii U GamePad. Apart from this, it also allows the user to draw designs on the touchscreen so they appear on the face of the person they are conversing with. The video chat can be displayed on both the television screen and the GamePad, meaning programs can still be watched while talking to the person. Wii U Chat in itself confirms that applications such as Skype will not be seen on Wii U. Wii U Chat was originally made available with a system update released on launch day via a wireless Internet connection.
Nintendo's current online shop service, first released on the Nintendo 3DS, is also present on Wii U. The Nintendo eShop was first made available on the system through a system update released on launch day via a wireless Internet connection. With the eShop, users can download exclusive Wii U software, demos and videos, as well as view information on upcoming games. Virtual Console games for NES, SNES, and Game Boy Advance are available, while Nintendo has confirmed that Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 64 games will be added in the future. These games can be played on the Wii U GamePad via Off-TV Play; games transferred over from a Wii console do not support Off-TV Play nor do they support other Wii U Virtual Console features.
A new television based service by Nintendo debuted on the Wii U. Together with Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube, Nintendo TVii (pronounced Nintendo TVee), collects and collaborates these services so they can be enjoyed on one software. This service is free although the subscriptions for Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are not. Videos on TVii can be playable on both the television screen and the GamePad. It also provides instant information from Wikipedia and IMDb about the film or program the users are currently watching. Control over the user's DVR is also possible via the service.
Nintendo TVii can only be received through a system update released on launch day via a wireless Internet connection.
The Wii Menu is a built in section on the Wii U Menu. It takes players to the Wii Menu from the Wii so they can play Virtual Console games, original Wii and WiiWare games. There is a Wii Shop Channel where players can purchase downloadable games or download the Wii to Wii U System Transfer to transfer the data from the Wii to the Wii U. The Wii Menu serves the same function as that of the original Wii with the exception of loading Nintendo GameCube games.
A system update released after the Wii U launched provided the user the ability to hold once switching on the console. This will automatically take the user to the Wii Menu without having to go through the Wii U menu first.
Another system update released after the Wii U's initial launch provided the option of using the GamePad as well to control the Wii Menu, where a sensor bar is built-in to the GamePad to provide Wii Remote support.