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Monday, 19 November 2012 07:33

Wii U launches in US

Written by David Stellmack

Wii U

Useless without massive day one patch

Well, the Wii U finally has arrived with Nintendo’s launch of the Wii U in the US at midnight Sunday. The launch keeps Nintendo’s tradition of launching new consoles on Sunday alive for the next launch. As we already know, supplies on the console are tight, but a check with local retailers revealed that at least some units were available and sold Sunday to those that didn’t already have a pre-order, so it is at least possible that some scattered units might be available for sale.

Independent retailers that we spoke with expressed surprise that they received a unit or two more than they had pre-sold, which was a welcomed surprise. As one retailer told us, “We didn’t accept very many pre-orders, and the pre-orders that we did accept were from our best and most valued customers. We received enough units to fill those pre-orders plus a few extra units to sell, which was very surprising, indeed. Still, we are not getting our hopes up that we will be able to continue to have units in stock through the holiday season. Our distributor is already telling us again that they expect supplies to remain tight and to expect orders not to be completely filled.”

The biggest news about the Wii U is that once you get it hooked up, you will be subjected to what can only be described as a big day one update. Without this update, we would agree with those who suggest the console is basically useless, and downloading the update will save some time. (Our experience was over one hour to download and 30 minutes to install!) By the way, the day one update delivers Miiverse, eShop, the Internet Browser, and the important backward compatibility with the Wii. Without the update, none of these are available to the owner. (Nintendo is claiming that the day one patch was necessary to give the maximum time to the developers to work on the code for the system and deliver the best day one experience possible.)

As has been reported elsewhere, the menu system can be best described as “sluggish” and the process of changing games is kind of a pain and needs improvement, for sure. Reports of issues with charging the GamePad have been noted, as well as some issues with the signal range of the GamePad; but we have yet to experience those issues.

While we would agree that the Wii U is innovative, we have to say that so far the graphics performance does not add up to what we already have seen in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but Nintendo is saying that it was not supposed to. However, it is taking risks with this console that the existing units are not; but that alone just might not be enough for some buyers. Still, Nintendo fans will be pleased that it is finally a reality.


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