Is Nintendo’s Wii U worth getting?

Is the Wii U worth getting for your home? Learn more about Nintendo's new console in this information roundup.

BASIC OR DELUXE? Will you be buying a Wii U? Screen shot from
MANILA, Philippines – Depending on which game pundit or technical expert you read online, you’re bound to get different responses regarding the Wii U’s worth as a gaming system.  

In terms of console gaming’s history the Nintendo Wii, the Wii U’s predecessor, saw immense growth before its competitors, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3, gained ground with worthwhile games to get. Nintendo’s Wii slowly lost steam among gamers though, and the Wii U’s current challenge is to provide an excellent gaming experience in an age where good graphics and gameplay are championed by the now expansive libraries of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

WII U TEARDOWN. A partially dismantled Wii U unit. Photo from

What you get

According to the Nintendo website, the Wii U comes in deluxe and basic versions, primarily differing in the amount of internal memory the Wii U has (8GB on the basic, 32 GB on the deluxe). The deluxe version also comes with a copy of the Nintendo Land game, a stand and cradle for the gamepad and a stand for the console. The Wii U also plays Wii games.

Basic technical specifications for the Wii U are available on the site, while Anandtech has a teardown where they dismantle the Wii U console and note specific parts and capabilities.

The most intriguing part of the Wii U is probably the gamepad, which did not get an Anandtech teardown. The Wii U’s gamepad is one part controller, and another part augmentation device for the console. It comes with a 6.2-inch LCD touch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, buttons for directional and input control, as well as analog sticks. The gamepad also benefits from motion controls, and a camera on the gamepad can be used for video chat and games.

DIVIDED THOUGHTS. Reviewers' thoughts are mixed between support for its potential and pessimism with its current state. Screen shot from

What reviewers think

Opinions on the Wii U are mixed, which is partly a result of some reviewers looking at the potential of the Wii U in addition to what it offers now.

The Verge writes that the Wii U “can do remarkable things, but exactly what those things are and how we can best use them are yet to be determined.” Citing the chicken-and-egg paradigm, they note how the issue for the system appears to be that developers may not want to make games for the system if the system doesn’t sell well, but the console won’t sell well without a good repertoire of games and applications beyond those made by Nintendo.

Joystiq concludes that while the Wii U console itself doesn’t feel like a next-generation console, the gamepad “like a futuristic leap. It’s rooted in classic experiences, but adds weird new possibilities.”

Answering the question of whether the Wii U is a must-have, Kotaku answers, “Not yet,” recommending that users wait beyond the launch window for more games to come out. Those really patient gamers may prefer to wait for future Sony and Microsoft announcements as well.

Technology site CNET was more subdued and focused on the console as it is now, saying it the lack of “compelling exclusive software and an overall unpolished user experience make it tough to recommend in its current state.

Citing some caveats, Destructoid’s review was hoping for the Wii U’s success. “Conceptually, it’s exciting,” reviews editor Jim Sterling writes, “and in practice it works. That’s rare for new ideas in the game industry these days, and I feel it’s a success that needs to be rewarded with publisher support. I foresee potential for an amazing library of not just exclusives, but multi-platform titles to boot, and I’m rather excited for it.”

Polygon’s review was a bit more pessimistic instead, saying that the Wii U’s strength was also its weakness. “The best thing we can say about the Wii U, that it will have a strong first-party presence, is also its biggest problem…. We are concerned about its ability to be more than a box for Nintendo first-party releases. Nintendo has always delivered on that, but it’s promised more, and that’s what we expect.”

Consumers and Concerns

Of course, the Wii U’s current popularity is not without some hiccups. Despite a Nielsen survey linked by Kotaku indicating that children aged 6-12 want the Wii U more than an iPhone for the holidays, some issues popped up during these first few days of the Wii U’s release.

Destructoid report links to the above video, in which a Wii U unit hangs and causes a vuvuzela like sound.

The launch of the Wii U did not include online functionality, which had to be patched in a few hours after the launch of the console to enable online play and additional functions like Netflix and apps. Reportedly, this patch could cause the Wii U to become permanently inoperable or “bricked” if discontinued before completion. Users will also want to watch out for inappropriate behavior in their online actions, as online use appears to be moderated.

Consumers may want to note that the Wii U can also play Wii U games from an SD card if the SD card is in a card reader in the console’s USB slot.

The Wii U is an interesting device for gamers, and while you may want to get one, it’s always best to be armed with information before you make your purchase. Hopefully, this information roundup helps you make an informed decision regarding shelling out for a new console. –

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