Nintendo has finally launched the Wii U in North America, following showings at E3 2011 and 2012. Follow this stream for updates on the tablet-controlled console.
Jun 3, 2014
If you've been busy shaving seconds off lap times in the stunning Mario Kart 8, you'll be pleased to know that Nintendo has shaved some seconds off the time it takes to boot up the game. A new Wii U system update, version 5.00, comes with a "quick start" menu that displays recently played games on the controller screen as soon as you power the system on, letting you load them straight away rather than wait for the full operating system to start up. Version 5.00 also includes the facility to automatically download and install system updates, and Nintendo can send a new kind of notification to the GamePad controller even when the console is switched off.Read Article >
The Wii U's laggy system-level performance has been a major criticism of the console since launch. The Verge noted it in our initial review, and Nintendo has since promised a series of updates to speed the OS up. An April patch brought minor improvements, and president Satoru Iwata first announced today's quick start menu back in January. The menu is more of a dodge than a fix for the system's inexplicable lag, but nonetheless in our testing saves roughly 20 seconds of waiting for the menu to load.
Dec 18, 2013
The Wii U’s poor sales performance is hardly news anymore, but last month’s arrival of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 brought Nintendo’s predicament into sharp relief. Sony and Microsoft touted their new machines as the best- and fastest-selling consoles in November, respectively, whereas Nintendo simply chose to tell the world that Wii U sales were up 340 percent on the previous month. Given that October figures were said to have been around a dismal 50,000 units, and that November includes Black Friday and the release of the Wii U's biggest and best game to date, Super Mario 3D World, the statistic is less than reassuring.Read Article >
As ever, some commentators have greeted the bad news with proclamations that the death knell has been sounded for Nintendo as a hardware manufacturer, and the sooner the company follows Sega’s lead by transitioning to a software-only model the better. But such analysis reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of Nintendo’s business, strategy, and motivations. The Wii U may well be a failure, but it’s not likely to budge Nintendo from its current plan.
Aug 28, 2013
The Wii U hasn't been selling quite as well as Nintendo might like, and come September 20th it's giving the new console's Deluxe package a $50 price cut that'll bring it down to $299.99. Earlier this month, Nintendo estimated that it had only sold 3.45 million Wii U consoles so far, after having been on the market since November. The company has said that it thinks the lack of strong, first-party titles has been the reason for the tepid response, and it's been working to get its big names — including Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda — over to the console soon.Read Article >
The price drop comes about two months before the Wii U will begin facing even stiffer competition from next-generation game consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Both of its competitors' consoles will now be significantly more expensive than the Wii U, with the PlayStation 4 running $100 more, and the Xbox One running $200 more. That could be enough to give the Wii U something of an edge — but Nintendo's console will still be the least powerful of the three major game systems, and it hasn't seen a particularly encouraging response from developers throughout its first year.
Aug 6, 2013
As Nintendo's Wii U hardware continues to fall flat in the market, the console maker is hoping to remind consumers and investors of the good times that they've had with its cadre of beloved characters. In a report released today, Nintendo sugar coats the Wii U's tepid debut with highlights of that past success: it notes that over the last 30 years of console making, the company has sold nearly 269 million home game systems, such as the NES, N64, and Wii, and over 385 million handheld systems, such as the Game Boy and Nintendo DS.Read Article >
While the Wii U has only been on the market for about six months, its sales figures continue to pale in comparison to Nintendo's previous ventures. Last week, Nintendo announced that only 160,000 Wii U consoles had been sold between April and June, and the company is now pegging total sales at only 3.45 million. Company president Satoru Iwata said that the goal is to perform much better next year. "We strive to regain 'Nintendo-like' profits for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014," Iwata said in the report. The company intends to achieve that by offering "fascinating games and services" to consumers.
Jul 8, 2013
ZombiU was the first, perhaps the only game so far for Nintendo's Wii U to truly show what the console is capable of. It made the Wii U Gamepad more than a gimmick, it displayed compelling HD graphics, and the game itself was actually quite good. But according to Yves Guillemot, chairman and CEO of Ubisoft, the audience simply wasn't there. He told GamesIndustry International that the game wasn't profitable, not even a little bit, and there won't be a sequel as a result.Read Article >
Jul 6, 2013
After Facebook and Twitter campaigns, an online petition, and even a Miiverse outcry all calling for Nintendo to remove region locking from the Wii U, the company is defending its decision to keep it in place. In an interview with IGN, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said that the regional restrictions imposed on the company's latest home console are the result of legal and cultural issues.Read Article >
"I hope that game fans can understand that the industry isn't doing this solely out of business ego," Iwata told IGN. "There are some reasons behind it." The president essentially said that Nintendo's hands are tied because it needs to comply with different rules for content in different countries. "There are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings," he said.
Jun 14, 2013
Nintendo's booth at E3 contained nothing unexpected. There was a new Donkey Kong Country, Mario Kart, and 3D Super Mario, and a version of Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS that we weren't allowed to play. Meanwhile, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is getting a sequel, and Wind Waker is getting a remake. The lack of surprises is in no way surprising; people buy Nintendo consoles and handhelds to play Nintendo games.Read Article >
But with each successive generation, the company is losing any semblance of a supporting cast. The NES and SNES each had a huge range of amazing third-party games to complement the likes of Mario and Metroid, but since the Nintendo 64 those games have slowly been disappearing. With the Wii U, they're practically nonexistent. As huge publishers like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft pull back support for Nintendo's latest home console, the question is whether Mario alone is enough to keep the platform alive.
Jun 13, 2013
One of Nintendo's strongest traditional partners has said that it won't create exclusive titles for the Wii U as long as the system's poor sales continue. Speaking to Kotaku at this week's E3 conference, CEO Yves Guillemot said, "We need more sold." Ubisoft is one of the few publishers to release a bona fide Wii U exclusive — horror action game ZombiU launched with the system last year — and Nintendo has historically enjoyed solid third-party support from the company.Read Article >
Guillemot expressed hope that Nintendo's own titles might spur further sales of the struggling system. Nintendo typically releases the best-selling games for its own consoles, and this week the company showed off new entries in the Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., and Donkey Kong Country series.
Jun 11, 2013
Nintendo's timeless characters are the most powerful weapon in the company's arsenal, so it's no surprise to see them called upon to reverse Wii U's troubling retail performance. To boost its console's momentum in the months ahead, Nintendo today announced several new games that include two Mario-related titles (Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8).Read Article >
Super Mario 3D World will allow four-player cooperative multiplayer gaming with a cast of characters pulled directly from Super Mario Bros. 2 — yes, the NES game. Gamers will be able to play as Mario, Luigi, Peach or Toad when the title ships this December. Each character has unique abilities that were also first seen in Nintendo's NES classic. And there's a new "Cat" power up that does exactly what it sounds like, converting your character into a cat capable of scaling walls and scratching enemies.
May 22, 2013
So is EA making Wii U games, or isn’t it? Last week, company spokesman Jeff Brown said that the company has "no games in development for the Wii U currently," but according to CFO Blake Jorgensen, there actually are plans to make games for the new console, reports Polygon. Responding to a question at the Stifel Nicolaus 2013 Internet, Media, and Communications Conference, Jorgensen stated that "we are building titles for the Nintendo console, but not anywhere near as many as we are for PS or Xbox." He also contrasted the power of the next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft with Nintendo’s Wii U, which he described as "more an extension of their last console."Read Article >
Earlier today, at the unveiling of Microsoft's heavily-anticipated new console, the Xbox One, EA showed previews of four new games for the platform, including FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NBA Live 2014, and EA Sports UFC. Given its scaled-back stable of only 11 core titles for 2014, and neither Madden NFL 2013, EA’s new Star Wars games, nor other Frostbite 3 games like Battlefield 4 headed to the Wii U, "not anywhere near as many" sounds about right.
May 16, 2013
Video game publisher Electronic Arts had already suggested that its upcoming Star Wars and Madden games might not be coming to the Nintendo Wii U, but it looks like the situation is more dire than that. EA tells Kotaku that the company is not currently making any games for the Wii U, period.Read Article >
"We have no games in development for the Wii U currently," spokesman Jeff Brown told the publication.
May 7, 2013
Yesterday we learned that Electronic Arts will be the primary publisher of Star Wars games over the next several years, with Disney holding onto rights for a few specific categories (mobile, social, etc.) And though it wasn't immediately apparent, it's looking like the new deal could be bad news for Wii U owners.Read Article >
EA has already revealed that games it produces under the Star Wars franchise will run on its Frostbite 3 engine — also set to serve as the foundation for other next-gen projects like Battlefield 4 and the next Mass Effect game. Unfortunately, last month DICE said Nintendo's own "next-gen" console isn't currently supported by Frostbite 3. "We don't want to back down from what we see as our low-spec machines," Battlefield executive producer Patrick Bach said at the time, referring to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
May 2, 2013Read Article >
One of video gaming's most popular and ubiquitous franchises is set to skip a Nintendo home console for the first time in over two decades. Despite a Wii U release for Madden NFL 2013 last year, EA Sports' upcoming Madden NFL 25 will not be making an appearance on Nintendo's latest console, according to a company representative who spoke to Nintendo World Report.
Apr 26, 2013
Nintendo's Wii U has not sold well, and among those who own or have at least played it, a chief complaint has been slow load times. A patch released last night advances things dramatically — improving load times by up to 31 percent, according to an analysis by Polygon. Still, the system takes anywhere from eight to 21 seconds to complete simple tasks, including returning to the main menu. Check out Polygon's video analysis below and see for yourself.Read Article >
Apr 25, 2013Read Article >
Miiverse, the social network that Nintendo launched with its Wii U console, is now available in web browsers. The network lets you view friends' updates and posts to individual game communities in both text and — via the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen — written or drawn form. The web app, which Nintendo says is still in beta, features a simple, responsive design that scales down well to mobile devices. However, it doesn't look like the company is enabling the ability to make new posts from the web interface yet; for that, you'll still need to use your Wii U. You also need to have created a Nintendo Network account on your Wii U before using the app. If you're already set up, it's available to browse now at miiverse.nintendo.net.
Mar 27, 2013Read Article >
Since we first got a look at the Wii U, one of our biggest complaints has been its unbelievably laggy user interface. Thankfully, a partial fix is on the way next month, and now we’re getting a look at what kind of a difference it’s going to make. In a video (below) posted to Nintendo’s YouTube account you can see how much faster it will be to return to the main Wii U menu from a game in progress post-update compared to a Wii U running the current software. Granted, it’s a huge improvement over the glacial pace of the existing software, but it’s still not as zippy as we would hope from a next-generation console. Thankfully, a second update is planned that ought to speed things up further, but it won't be coming until summer.
Feb 15, 2013
Nintendo has already cut its forecasts for the Wii U after sales failed to meet expectations, and we're now seeing the extent of the console's poor performance in the US. The NPD group has released its report for January video game retail sales and, while it isn't providing specific hardware numbers, a Gamasutra source says that the Wii U sold "well under" 100,000 units. Nintendo previously announced that it sold 460,000 systems in December, suggesting that demand has dropped off considerably among customers who hadn't already decided to buy the console at launch.Read Article >
According to an NPD representative, the figure represents a 38 percent decrease on sales for the original Wii at the same point in its life, and Gamasutra estimates that the actual number is between 45,000 and 59,000 consoles sold. If accurate, that would mean the Wii U performed worse in January than the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 did in any single month throughout their entire lifespan. Nintendo will be hoping for a sales boost later in the year from recently-announced Super Mario, Zelda, and Mario Kart titles.
Feb 7, 2013
Ubisoft has announced that Rayman Legends, the followup to 2011's surprise hit Rayman Origins, will now be released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in addition to Wii U. Unfortunately that means the game will miss its targeted release date of February 26th — still reflected on its official website — and instead hit shelves in September.Read Article >
Rayman Legends had originally been planned as an exclusive for Nintendo's latest home console; a playable demo is included on many Wii U demo kiosks at electronics retailers. But apparently Ubisoft received overwhelming feedback from gamers asking it to bring Legends for 360 and PS3. At least that's the publisher's story. "We decided to give the fans what they wanted while at the same time broadening the audience exposed to this innovative and memorable game," said Ubisoft marketing executive Geoffroy Sardin in a press release.
Jan 30, 2013
Overall, Nintendo posted an operating loss of 5.8 billion yen ($64.4 million) for the nine months ended December 2012, which it partially attributed to the strong performance of the yen over the past year and the fact that it makes a loss on each Wii U console sold. Revenues were down 2.4 percent year on year, and contrary to its prior predictions, the company expects a second consecutive annual loss of 20 billion yen ($220 million). In comments reported by Reuters, however, President Satoru Iwata said the company is aiming to return to profit in the next financial year with a target of 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion).Read Article >
Good news for the company came in the shape of strong software sales: Pokémon Black Version 2 and White Version 2 for DS sold 7.63 million copies, Animal Crossing: New Leaf for 3DS sold 2.73 million units in Japan alone, and New Super Mario Bros U sold 2.01 million, meaning that about two in three Wii U purchasers decided to pick the game up with their new system. With 11.69 million Wii U software titles sold in total, that means that the console has a healthy attach rate of 3.82 games per system — though it's worth noting that Nintendo Land, bundled with the premium console pack in North America and Europe, has been included in that amount.
Jan 11, 2013Read Article >
It's also worth noting that the Wii suffered from considerable supply constraints upon its release in 2006, whereas the Wii U doesn't seem to be as difficult to find. That said, the Wii U's higher price has led to Nintendo making over $300 million since the launch, whereas the original Wii made $270 million. It's still far too early to cast aspersions on the system's future based on limited sales data, but many will be wondering if Nintendo can make lightning strike twice.
Dec 21, 2012
Nintendo of America is offering some very practical advice on Twitter this holiday season. It's also possibly the most telling sign we've seen of Nintendo's epic Wii U launch failure.Read Article >
If you buy a Wii U, be sure to carefully update it to avoid bricking the console. Unless, of course, your giftee would rather have an unopened present. In that case, perhaps you should warn them that they should set aside some time to download the
5GB1GB update, and avoid restarting the console or yanking the power plug until it (eventually) finishes.
Dec 19, 2012
Nintendo has just announced that its TVii service for the new Wii U console will be available in the US as of December 20th. This marks Nintendo's largest effort to date to own a piece of the living room ecosystem beyond just games and will compete directly with the myriad of video-watching options already offered on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. As previously announced, TVii combines a TV programming guide, remote control functionality, and social interaction, and will feature major subscription video service options as well. It's also compatible with TiVo DVRs and can bring in live TV listings as well — making it a sort of "video aggregation" app much like those we've seen from Verizon, TV Guide, and Fanhattan.Read Article >
Unsurprisingly, social is a major part of the TVii experience — users can the Wii U gamepad as a second screen for tweeting, posting to Facebook, or sharing and commenting within the Wii U's Miiverse. When TVii launches, it'll offer Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus immediately, while integration with Netflix and TiVo will unfortunately have to wait until 2013.