CES2012: Nintendo Planning Vastly Improved App Store for Wii U

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It’s already known that Nintendo is hitting the trade show circuit full force with plans to privately show the new Wii U at CES in Vegas next week. According to The Daily, however, the gaming giant plans to wildly improve the digital download experience for its next-generation console. 

Despite the fact that the console isn’t expected to ship before the fall and holiday seasons this year, news is already leaking out about how Nintendo plans to compete against the online services offered by competitors Microsoft and Sony. The Big N is commonly criticized for fumbling around the Internet in terms of game downloads and online play, including multiplayer.

Its current systems are slow and complicated, with unintuitive store mechanisms and difficult to manage friends systems, with occasionally multiple lengthy codes needed to connect two gamers over the Internet. The company, for its part, claims that these measures ensure a safe gaming experience for younger players – the common gamer is now thirty years old, however, and doesn’t have patience for these antiquated systems.

Moreover, it’s hard to deny that Microsoft has managed to create a powerhouse service in the form of its Xbox Live offering, which allows players – with a single login – to manage demo and full game downloads, friends lists, 3rd party services and more.

The form that Nintendo’s next-gen app store will take is currently speculative at best, but at minimum will go significantly past the pittances offered in the form of the DSi and Wii Shops. Those latter offer simple apps and a few games for the company’s portable and stationary gaming consoles, respectively.

Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo’s next-gen Wii U was unveiled publicly for the first time back at E3 last summer. Since then, however, little news has been released for the console, and most of the technical specifications are still under wraps. The CPU at the heart of the machine will be a new multicore chip based on IBM’s POWER7 architecture, and the GPU will likely be one of AMD’s R770 processors that took their Radeon HD4000 series to new heights of popularity.

The controller, of course, is what will set the Wii U apart from its competitors. In addition to supporting all of the current Wii’s lineup of controllers, peripherals and accessories, the Wii U will sport a tablet-esque controller that features a 6.2-inch, 854×480 resistive touchscreen on its face. Reportedly, some of the Nintendo Wii U’s app store apps will be able to run on the controller itself, as opposed to others, running on the Wii U.

This breaks from earlier Nintendo announcements that suggest that the controller is merely that, and all software processing will be completed on the Wii U console itself. It’s possible that some app store apps will simply use the controller screen, and will actually run on the console. As a result, customers won’t be able to access these applications past the roughly 30-foot range that the Wii U offers.


Check out our image gallery here for more shots of the new system, including some unique new gameplay scenarios.





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