The Wii U Launch: What We Still Don’t Know

If you ask me right now if I plan to buy a Wii U after watching Nintendo’s presentation streams, I’d say yes, but I don’t know when. I thought the presentations were good, but missed possibly the most important information for me personally.

For North America we still don’t have the specific dates on the games. We still don’t know what’s 2012 and what’s early 2013. On Monday I noted what games would be most likely to convince me to buy a Wii U, and all of them are still “launch window.”

I will say that I appreciate the two major new game announcements. The one moment out of the entire presentation hat trick that got an audible “oh shit” out of me was Bayonetta 2’s announcement as a Wii U exclusive. That alone guarantees that I will buy a Wii U somewhere down the line. I’ve also been waiting for a console Monster Hunter with a good online infrastructure for years now.

That’s the other thing though: we’ve still seen barely anything of the Wii U’s central operating system and online service. We know about MiiVerse, we know that the Wii U and 3DS will have a traditional account system, we know that the eShop will be ready at launch, and we know that you’ll be able to transfer your Wii digital purchases over to the Wii U. Regarding the OS we really only learned one new thing if you were paying attention.

One of the most interesting aspects of Nintendo’s first Japan stream was Satoru Iwata’s confirmation that the Wii U will have 2GB of RAM, 1GB of that being devoted to the operating system. That’s about 10 times as much as the PS3 reserves for its OS and over 30 times as much as the Xbox 360’s. There seems to be a lot that Nintendo wants you to be able to do outside of the game, or even while playing your game.

We know they want you to be using the MiiVerse social network and message boards while in-game. Nintendo has hinted at in-game chat and even video chat with friends. On the 3DS you can already use the web browser without quitting out of a game. In my opinion we could see an impressive amount of in-game social interaction from the Wii U, even compared to Xbox Live, if only for its uniqueness from it.

As for when we might actually know all this, editions of Nintendo Direct have been monthly thus far, so I would expect at least one more before the Wii U’s launch.


  • One personal disappointment of mine was that HBO Go wasn’t listed among the video services that Nintendo TVii includes. That could very well have sealed my launch window purchase of a Wii U.
  • Also on the memory thing, 32GB may not be much starting out if you’re going to download a lot of modern games, but in my opinion Nintendo is actually giving you the cheapest choices since the Wii U can boot software from almost any third party storage. With an Xbox you have to spend $120 on their branded 320GB hard drive, but with a Wii U you could probably spend the same amount of money on a 2TB external hard drive.
  • A news article you might have missed on Nintendo’s current policy in regards to the Wii U and conflict materials:
  • As for the new Apple announcements, still waiting on that iPad Mini, and I hope iOS6 doesn’t cripple my iPhone 4 like iOS4 did the iPhone 3G.
  • This trailer is probably the first time I’ve been impressed by how good New Super Maro Bros. U looks:
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