This holiday week, take a break from enterprise IT and play with the consumer electronics that will be big this holiday season: the Nintendo Wii U.
Nintendo's latest system released in the USA today, November 18, 2012, in two configurations: a basic model that comes with no games and 8 GB of internal storage for $299; or a deluxe unit that comes with the Nintendo Land disc of mini-games and 32 GB of internal storage for $349. The main difference between either unit and Nintendo's previous console, the Wii, is the introduction of the GamePad, a tablet-like controller that features a touchscreen. By using the GamePad in conjunction with four Wiimote controllers, up to five players can enjoy "asymmetrical gameplay", wherein one player has a different experience than the other four. Imagine a Pac-Man chasing four ghosts through a maze, with only Pac-Man being able to see the complete maze on the tablet while the other four players watch the television; or a Dungeons & Dragons game, where one person is the Dungeon Master to four local players.
Here I present my unboxing and setup of the Nintendo Wii U's deluxe model, reviewing the hardware, peripherals, and initial setup and configuration. I haven't played any of the games yet, though there were 26 to choose from on day one and up 50 in the "launch window", which extends through March.
I eventually did get the 1GB system update downloaded, upgrading my console from 1.0.1 to 2.0.0, necessary to enable SD and USB storage devices, the Wii transfer utility, and more. And yes, there is a stylus.
The supply and demand for the Nintendo Wii U has already exceeded that of its predecessor, with GameStop alone providing 1.2 million units on launch day. If you were not among those who pre-ordered the system, you may be hard-pressed to find one this holiday season — at a reasonable price, anyway. At this moment, over 4,000 units are available on eBay for anywhere from $465 to $2,999.99.
Will the Nintendo Wii U be a successful competitor to the emerging trend of mobile and tablet gaming? Or will Nintendo eventually become a third-party publisher for Android and iOS devices? Gamers like you will decide; what system are you wanting to play games on this holiday season?