Nintendo has released a new “Iwata Asks” interview, this time focused on the hardware of the Wii U. The main focus was to use the knowledge the company had from developing the Wii to make a smarter, more efficient console, where the console would be in the background, running quietly behind the scenes like a “stagehand.”
The development process for the Wii U started a long time ago, in April 2009, and it started with the idea of HD. So many devices have HD now that HD has almost become the standard, and so Nintendo knew it needed to make the Wii U HD compatible. As a result, customers will receive an HDMI cable with the purchase of a Wii U.
One of the main focuses of the development team was on designing a console that has both low power consumption and high performance, which has been a key issue since the GameCube. With the Wii U, Nintendo decided that combining everything into one small but powerful area was the best bet. So, the Wii U has a multi-core CPU and uses an MCM, which is when the “multi-core CPU chip and the GPU chip are built into a single component.” Since everything is closer together, information is relayed over shorter distances, which means greater speed and less latency; lower power consumption, higher performance.
When it comes to heating issues, Nintendo seemed to go with the overall theme of “bigger is better” for the Wii U. The upcoming console has only one heat source (as opposed to the Wii’s two heat sources), and a larger heat sink goes over it. This all gets cooled by a meticulously designed fan (that is also larger than the Wii’s fan).
As to the physical design of the console, I mentioned before that Nintendo wanted to make the Wii U a stagehand. In addition, the console is designed to lay horizontally (basically just to contrast the Wii’s vertical stance), but can also be stood up vertically, if desired. A lot of the external components from the Wii have shifted to the front of the Wii U, such as the USB Drives and the sync button (which is out in the open now).
Of course, one of the main features of the Wii U is the GamePad, which is both a controller and a handheld console itself (of sorts). Since the GamePad doesn’t need the TV in order to operate, Nintendo hopes the console will be used much more often on a daily basis in the living room and enable families to come together more. The team mentions its belief that the GamePad will “increase conversation” in the living room.
Iwata also made one last comment near the end of the interview:
“We also cleared the challenge of making sure that the Wii U could send images to the Wii U GamePad continuously without latency.”
Well, that’s good to know, Iwata, because it’s kind of important.
Anyway, read the full interview yourself here, if you’d like. It’s kind of neat to hear about the development process, but I didn’t find anything too terribly shocking and/or interesting. Nintendo will also be doing an Iwata Asks interview centered on the GamePad, so keep your eyes open for that.
Now, what I do think is awesome is that transparent console. Nintendo should definitely get on making that an actual console they sell. I had a transparent/purple GameBoy Color and I thought my GameBoy was the coolest thing around when I was a kid.