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Information on the Nintendo Wii:
The Wii (pronounced like the word "we") is Nintendo's seventh-generation video game console, and is the company's fifth home console. Its official project code name was Revolution.
A feature unique to the Wii is the console's wireless controller, the Wii Remote (or "Wii-mote"), which may be used as a handheld pointing device and can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions. The controller also contains a speaker and a rumbling device to provide sensory feedback. The console has a stand-by feature entitled WiiConnect24, enabling it to receive messages and updates over the Internet while consuming very little electrical power.
Nintendo unveiled the system under the Revolution code name in 2005 at its E3 press conference. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's President, revealed a prototype of the system's game controller at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show during his keynote speech in September. It was reported that at the E3 2006 show, Wii was widely considered a success, amongst both journalists and gamers. Wii also boasted the longest line in E3 history, a four hour wait to get into the booth with additional waiting time to play a game demo. The console is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2006 with no more than four months difference between the first and last launching regions.
Release date and price
As of July 2006, an exact release date has not been confirmed. However, Nintendo's most recent statements confirm that the company plans to release the Wii in the fourth quarter of 2006. Internationally, the company hopes to launch with no more than four months difference between the first and last launching regions. A previous statement by Satoru Iwata indicated Nintendo's intentions to launch before Thanksgiving. At a June 2006 briefing in Japan, Iwata stated that a precise release date and price would be announced by September.
While Nintendo has yet to announce an exact price for the console as of July 2006, Yoshihiro Miro, senior managing director for Nintendo, has stated that the Wii will cost no more than JP¥25,000 (price in US$) in Japan, US$250 in America. A Nintendo spokesman said that the price in the UK "will be in line with Japanese and US prices announced" (Japanese and US prices in GB£). The company intends to release 6 million console units and 17 million software units during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007; and 4 million or more console units by the end of the 2006 calendar year. Despite the price point of US$60 quoted for many next-generation games, Satoru Iwata said in an interview that he could not imagine that any first-party games would cost more than US$50.
A few early rumors indicated that Nintendo will release the Wii on November 6, 2006. On July 25, 2006, however, Nintendo issued a cryptic press release that stated:
"Perhaps the secret to the launch information for Wii is somehow encoded in the text of this news item. You might want to pore over it for a few hours before staying up all night to debate phraseology and comma placement with your friends online. Or maybe it's all just a scam to get you to read the other games we have launching this fall. One of the two."
In the press release was a list of launch dates for several Nintendo DS games. An article by John Scalzo at Gaming Target interpreted the press release to indicate a Wii release date of October 2. IGN came to the same conclusion, reporting that separate rumors have suggested that Nintendo could be planning to launch Wii directly after the late-September Tokyo Game Show.
Expected launch titles
While only nine titles have been officially confirmed for launch, the rest are, as of July 2006, reported to be available at launch. Nintendo has stated that about 20 titles will be available around launch:
Title Developer Publisher(s)
Avatar: The Last Airbender THQ THQ
Blitz: The League Midway Games Midway Games
Call of Duty 3 Treyarch Activision
Cars Rainbow Studios THQ
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 Spike Atari
Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors* Square Enix Square Enix
Elebits Konami Konami
Excite Truck Nintendo Nintendo
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers Square Enix Square Enix
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess** Nintendo Nintendo
Madden NFL 07 EA Canada EA Sports
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Raven Software Activision
Metal Slug Anthology SNK SNK
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption* Retro Studios Nintendo
Rayman Raving Rabbids Ubisoft Montpellier Ubisoft
Red Steel* Ubisoft Paris Ubisoft
SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab THQ THQ
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz* Sega Sega
Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam*** Toys For Bob Activision
Trauma Center: Second Opinion* Atlus Atlus
Wii Sports* Nintendo Nintendo
* Confirmed by Nintendo to be a launch title
** Confirmed for launch and also released for the GameCube
*** Will also be released for the Game Boy Advance or the Nintendo DS
The Wii Zapper controller at an event at the Hotel Puerta America (Under Development)The Wii is Nintendo's smallest home game console yet, being approximately the size of three standard DVD cases stacked together. The console has been confirmed to have the ability to stand either horizontally or vertically. The front of the console features a self-loading media drive illuminated by a blue light and accepts both 12 cm Wii Optical Discs and 8 cm optical discs from Nintendo's prior console, the GameCube. Nintendo has stated that a small attachment can be purchased separately to play DVDs. The ability to load different sized discs is uncommon in slot-loading media drives, which typically only accept discs of a single size.
Nintendo has shown the Wii in various colors including silver, lime green, white, black, blue and red. The final colors of the console are still to be announced, although the Wii remote will be available in matching colors.
The systems shown at E3 2006 and in various trailers appear to have several small changes from the original design. Not only had the Nintendo branding on the case been replaced with a 'Wii' logo, but the disc loading slot had been enlarged slightly, the reset button had been moved from next to the eject button to the power button, and the power indicator light had been moved from next to the power button to inside the button.
A second flap cover is located on the front of the machine, which opens to disclose an SD card slot in the middle and a "SYNCHRO" button, used to link the controllers to the console.
The port for the sensor bar, a device used for the Wii Remote's three-dimensional sensing, is found at the rear of the console. This port did not appear in any of the former Wii hardware images, including the images in Nintendo's E3 media press kit.
The Nunchuk controller (left) and main controller shown at E3 2006Main article: Wii Remote
The primary controller for the Wii uses a one-handed, remote control-based design. The controller communicates wirelessly with the console via Bluetooth. It features an integrated accelerometer, which allows it to sense linear motion along three axes, as well as tilt. The controller also contains a tracking image sensor, which, in tandem with a sensor bar, gives the controller light gun-like pointer capabilities within 5 meters (approx. 16.5 ft.) of the screen. Up to four controllers can be connected at once and operated as far as ten meters from the console. The remote has force-feedback capabilities and can be utilized as an NES gamepad when rotated. An internal audio speaker can be used to play sound effects and provides an enhanced depth of sound field. The Wii-mote features 6KB of "non-volatile" memory. It can run up to 60 hours using only the accelerometer function with two alkaline AA batteries and up to 30 hours when using the precision aim. The buttons on the contoller are digital and include a D-Pad, A, B, 1, 2, -, +, and Power buttons as well as a SYNCHRO button located underneath the battery cover.
The Wii Remote can be augmented by various add-ons. Announced expansions include: the included Nunchuk controller (which also has accelerometer capabilities, but no pointer ability) featuring an analog stick and two additional digital buttons (C and Z), a Classic Controller for playing Virtual Console and GameCube games, and may have a "Zapper Style" shell, displayed as a concept at E3 2006, for First-person shooter gameplay which also includes a control stick on the top.
In an interview, Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that Nintendo hopes to allow Wii controllers to be personalized for each gamer. Applications would include different game settings determined by the preferences of the controller that turned on the console. Mr. Miyamoto has also discussed the possibility of further changes to the controller before launch, stating that the design team is, "still debating the number of buttons to use."
The sensor bar is an attachment placed either directly above or below the display screen, which is required for games and applications that use the remote as an on-screen pointer. With the sensor bar it is possible to accurately pinpoint where on screen a Remote is pointing, regardless of the size or type of display used. The sensor bar is around 20 centimeters long.
The sensor bar contains two sensors, one in each end, however it is not as of yet known if they are used for the on-screen pointer or for other uses such as determining the controllers position in 3D space.
The Wii will have built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connectivity allowing communication over the Internet and with the Nintendo DS via wireless networking. Nintendo has stated that the Wii will have a standard interface for Wi-Fi. An optional USB adapter will provide network connectivity via wired Ethernet as well.
In addition, the console incorporates Bluetooth wireless communication, with which it communicates with the wireless Wii Remote controller. Connectivity with other Bluetooth devices has not been mentioned.
The Wii has a flip lid that can be opened to reveal four ports for GameCube controllers and two GameCube memory card slots. Two USB ports (at the rear) and one SD card slot (behind a flap cover at the front of the console) are provided. Additionally a small internal attachment (a dongle) to be sold as an add-on to the console will allow Wii to play DVD-Video.
Nintendo has stated that the Wii will be backward compatible with all GameCube software and most peripherals. This backwards compatibility is achieved through a set of ports on top of the console concealed by a panel. There are four GCN controller ports and two GCN memory card slots as there were on the GameCube itself, so the GameCube microphone should be compatible, as well as the DK Bongos and the GameCube-Game Boy Advance cable. There is no indication that the Wii has the high-speed port of the original GameCube, which means that unless otherwise indicated, the Game Boy Player (which required this port) will not be compatible with the Wii.
The Wii will be able to connect to the Internet through its built-in Wi-Fi and through a USB-to-Ethernet adapter, with both methods allowing players to access the established Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. The service will have several unique features for the Wii, such as the Virtual Console and WiiConnect24.
On July 18, 2006, it was discovered that a page was posted on Nintendo's official website indicating that Wii would use the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection in much the same way as the Nintendo DS does, with a Friend Code system and no charge to play. The page was taken down shortly after word had spread of its existence.
The temporary Virtual Console GUI shown at E3.Main article: Virtual Console (Wii)
The Virtual Console is an online service, similar to Xbox Live Arcade that allows users to download not only the NES, Super NES, and Nintendo 64, but also Mega Drive/Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 systems. Only a "best of" selection for these systems will be available, not every released title. Nintendo has stated that this service "...will be home to new games conceived by indie developers whose creativity is larger than their budgets."
While no pricing info has been announced for the Virtual Console feature, at the June 2006 Nintendo briefing, Satoru Iwata suggested that new, low-scale games could be sold via the Virtual Console at a price of between JP¥500 and JP¥1000(≈USD$4–$9 or ≈€3.5–€7). In a presentation in Spain, it was mentioned that Nintendo of Spain was considering a pre-paid card option for its Virtual Console purchases.
At E3 2006, Nintendo announced WiiConnect24, a feature that will allow the Wii to remain connected to the Internet in standby mode. Some possible uses of WiiConnect24 that were mentioned at E3 2006 include allowing friends to visit a player's village in Animal Crossing and downloading updates for games without having to be actively using the system.
It has also been said that it would be possible to download Nintendo DS promotional demos using WiiConnect24 and later transfer it to one's Nintendo DS (see Nintendo DS connectivity).
Nintendo DS connectivity
Wii will support wireless connectivity with the Nintendo DS. Shigeru Miyamoto said Nintendo was still working out when features using this connectivity would be available, but that it would be soon after the launch of the system, due to the popularity of the Nintendo DS.
The connectivity will allow the player to use functions like the Nintendo DS's microphone and touchscreen as inputs for Wii games. The first example Nintendo has given of a game using Nintendo DS-Wii connectivity is that of Pokémon Battle Revolution. Players with either Pokémon Diamond or Pearl will be able to play battles using their Diamond or Pearl Pokémon on Wii with the Nintendo DS as a controller.
It has also been confirmed that the Nintendo DS will be able to play game demos downloaded from Wii which they would receive from Nintendo. The Wii will also be able to update and expand Nintendo DS games.