Nintendo’s Wii U is the sequel to the Japanese gaming giant’s insanely popular Wii console. In 2006, the Wii took gaming beyond its traditional boys’ club, offering groundbreaking motion controls paired with family-friendly games that probably got your grandma bowling again. The Wii U features a controller-tablet hybrid called the GamePad, which aims to become a home-entertainment command centre. There are two Wii U versions, the 8 GB basic model for $299, or the deluxe 32 GB version for $349. The company expects to have 50 titles available for the new console between its November launch and the end of March, including Super Mario Bros. and Activision’s blockbuster Call of Duty Black Ops 2.
The 6.2-inch touch screen, combined with traditional console controls, adds a second screen to your game, allowing players of, say, Black Ops, to be playing on their TV, while having maps or weapons status on the smaller screen. It also enables streaming of games from the console so you don’t even need the TV.
The Gamepad also functions as a TV remote, interacting with your TV, cable box, DVR and streaming services like Netflix. Pick a show, favourite it, record it and share the listing with friends. You can also read movie reviews and watch trailers directly on the GamePad.
The console features an IBM Power7-based multicore processor, and 8 GB or 32 GB of memory, with the option to expand via SD card and external USB drives. On top of everything else, the GamePad has a front-facing camera, microphone and stereo speakers.