So, now we know the name of the new Nintendo offering, which will be called Wii U (as you know by now). Much of the specifics of the hardware we have already been telling you about, so it was really no surprise. We can fill in some blanks now that we didn’t have previously.
As we already knew, the Wii U will be a disc-based system using a proprietary disc format that will hold about 25GB per single sided disc. It is unknown if the drive has the ability to support a dual layer format, but we suspect that this is the case. The drive will also support Wii and GameCube discs in both disc sizes. While a number of rumors suggest that the disc format for the Wii U is based on the Blu-ray format, we suspect that the Wii U will offer DVD video playback; but we are unsure about full Blu-ray video playback support, although the hardware is more than capable of it. We doubt Nintendo will offer Blu-ray video playback support.
The Wii U will have 8GB of onboard internal flash storage. Owners will have the ability to expand their storage by using USB flash memory sticks or a USB external hard drive by plugging them into one of four provided USB ports. The Wii U will not have an internal hard drive and all storage expansion will be via USB.
The Wii U as suspected will be an HD capable console offering resolutions from 480i to 1080p. It is powered by an AMD/ATI R700 series GPU at 32nm with 1GB of video memory that has been customized for Nintendo’s use in the Wii U. We estimate that the GPU will be clocked between 750 MHz to 825MHz. As for the CPU, the Wii U will be using a 32nm quad-core IBM Power CPU.
We are hearing that the controller will not be sold separately and there will only be one Wii U controller per console. For two-player games we expect that Nintendo will offer another controller that will be sold separately that will offer the same button configuration support as that offered in the Wii U controller.
The biggest mystery, of course, is the price. Nintendo has not said a lot about the price yet, because likely they don’t really know what the Wii U is going to cost to manufacture. What they have said is that it is going to cost more than the Wii, which from where we sit is a no-brainer. Analysts we talked with suggest the cost could be as much as $399 to $450 per console. With that kind of pricing the Wii U is targeted at a totally different audience this time around; and with the announced third-party software support it could be a serious contender, even though from a technical perspective it does not offer much more in the way of power than the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.