Nintendo Wii U to hit Australia before Christmas


news Japanese video game giant Nintendo has reportedly confirmed plans to launch its next-generation Wii U console in Australia before the end of 2012, listing a local launch in line with simultaneous releases in Japan, the US and Europe.

The Wii U is the company’s follow-up to its highly successful Wii console, of which Nintendo has sold several million in Australia since its launch at the end of 2006 in Australia. The console, Nintendo’s sixth console for the home, will feature 1080p high-definition graphics, addressing a common complaint about the Wii, which only supports standard definition graphics.

In addition, the Wii U will continue Nintendo’s tradition of innovating in the control systems which users use to control games, adding a new controller with an embedded touchscreen, which will allow players to continue gaming sessions by displaying a game on the controller’s touchscreen — even though their television may be off or being used for another purpose. The Wii U was first revealed in June 2011, and will be backwards compatible with Wii games.

Overnight, as Nintendo released its quarterly financial results, the company’s president Satoru Iwata reportedly said (according to Reuters and other publications) that the company would launch the Wii U in Japan, the US, Europe and Australia at the end of 2012. No pricing information has been released by Nintendo.

The news will make Nintendo the first of the three major video game console manufacturers to release a new console for some years. Neither Microsoft nor Sony have yet released much information on their next-generation consoles to replace their respective Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms, although both have released additions to the consoles to tackle specific area such as motion controlled gaming — a feature first introduced in the Nintendo Wii.

It also comes as rival mobile platforms, such as Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 systems are starting to attract significant amounts of investment from gaming firms keen to cash in on the wave of new smartphone purchases. Some handheld smartphone games — such as the Infinity Blade series — are starting to feature graphics comparable to those on offer through dedicated consoles.

How will Nintendo’s Wii U do in Australia? Personally, I very much suspect it will depend entirely on whether Nintendo launches the new console with a decent software line-up. If the company quickly makes available new titles in the long-running Zelda, Mario, Metroid and Donkey Kong franchises, as well as bringing third-party franchises on board like Professor Layton and launching new titles in new franchises such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit, the console will see strong take-up pretty quickly.

Everyone likes new Zelda and Mario games, and with a few extra titles thrown into the mix, plus the long-awaited HD graphics the Wii U will offer, quite a few Australians will want to upgrade.

However, right now, many Australians’ main impression of Nintendo is that it is the company which brought them the awesome Nintendo Wii a few years back, then failed to release much in the way of new games for the console — as well as only slowly porting old games to the system via its online library. If Nintendo continues this trend with the Wii U, then many people will become quite disappointed with the company in general, and will turn back to more reliably entertaining ecosystems the Xbox and PlayStation empires offer.

Photos of the Wii U:

Image credit: Nintendo


  1. If it has better graphics than those of the ps3 and xbox360, it’ll be day one purchase for me too (I’ve heard they’re actually better, but I want to hear directly from Nintendo.)

  2. Yeah the Wii sucked, very few good games on it. I’m going to hold off and see what the others have on offer.

    Been burnt by Nintendo too much lately!

  3. The Wii was never intended to be a gamer’s console. Nintendo succeeded in finding a whole new market segment by creating a games interface that was simple and intuitive enough for anybody to use.

    A big portion of the population don’t play regular console/PC games because they are intimidated by the learning curve, all of those buttons to figure out. The Wii tapped into this new vein with their two-button plus motion controller, and also did it at a price point much lower than their conventional competitors — which they achieved by using processing tech that was an entire generation old.

    For the rest of us that already play games, aren’t intimidated by control complexity and don’t mind spending more than $300 on a device we’ll get hours of entertainment out of, the Wii rapidly turned into a dust-collecting gimmick.

    Nintendo only released one or two gamer-oriented games each year for the system and third party publishers stopped offering a Wii port of most of their games within the first couple of years — look at all the major new third-party core-gamer announcements these days and they’re almost all X360, PS3 and PC.

    So when looking at the Wii-U, there’s absolutely no reason to think that it won’t go exactly the same way. Nintendo are launching a console in 2012, that is going to have a similar processing power as the Xbox 360 (which will be 6 years old at that time).

    Wii-U might enjoy a year in the sun as people party with the new gimmick, but as soon as the other guys launch their new consoles (which could be as soon as Nov 2013), it will get left behind by all the third parties again and gamers who own it will be left waiting to blow the dust off it for that new Mario, Zelda or Metroid game once every couple of years.

    Also, there’s a limit of one tablet controller per console on Wii-U. One of the Wii’s biggest strengths was as a social/party gaming machine and this new gimmick is a solo experience.

    It will very likely be a commercial success simply by virtue of price-point and gimmick power, but it’s not going to be any better for gamers than the Wii.

    • Thing is though the hardware should be able to handle multiple tablet screens. They’ve just limited it.

  4. From my perspective, Wii sucked because:
    1. Controllers. (sorry.. I hate them.)
    2. POOR GRAPHICS. (GameCube’s graphics? again?! no thanks.)

    • Graphics isn’t everything there is still some great games on the Wii…….meh who am I kidding. I’ve had 30 games on the Wii and have only finished 1 of them!

    • You may not have liked them but the ‘majority’ of console buyers globally apparently do.

      If Wikipedia is to be believed – global Wii sales are almost the same as Xbox 360 and PS3 combined.

      Nintendo haven’t really led the way on CPU power, graphics and specs – they have innovated on usability, interaction and marketing to the masses. Xbox and the Kinect have started doing similar now as well.

      Given the current Wii was released around the same time as the PS3 and a year after the Xbox 360 with its hardware specs were lower than both of those at the time, I think Nintendo has demonstrated that you don’t have to be the ‘fastest’ and ‘highest definition’ to top the sales charts.

      • It’s also been the cheapest console to buy. So all them parents when there kids ask them for a console go out and buy a Wii.

        Or like my dad, he bought one the other day because him and my brother were bored and wanted something to do.

  5. Backwards compatibility is a factor in early sales. The starting lineup/console price matters less if your ‘investment’ of dozens of games wont go to waste.

    The downside: The wii U wont upscale wii games to HD. That option would have convinced me to buy one the second it came out (suddenly, all those games would look great on your 42″ lcd). As it is, I’ll wait and see.

  6. I’m still waiting for some good games to come out for the 3DS, very much a ‘wait and see’ from me about the Wii U.

    • Agreed. Dead or Alive and Street Fighter are fun by get boring after so many hours.

      The other games (the non n64 ports) are so so. I’ve enjoyed Ghost Recon.

      I’ve got Mario and Ace Combat coming soon, hopefully these are worth it.

      But yeah as I said before, I’ll be holding off, have been burnt with the Wii and it only having a few decent games and with the 3DS and its price drop! (bought while the price was high >_<)

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