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​I have a Wii game console. We use it mostly for Wii Fit (exercise) but ocassionally play Wii Sports. Its connected features (Netflix, notably) fall short of other devices in our home – so we pretty much ignore those.

Now – with all the news about E3, Wii U (a tablet-like game controller) is interesting. But a conversation with our gaming expert made me realize I was very confused. After taking a few moments to set the record straight, I know now that:

Wii U is a next generation game console that is supposed to ship this year – presumably just in time for Santa.

The Wii U Gamepad is a high-end controller that requires two hands (with 2 joysticks – so mimicking an Wiimote and a numchuck together) with a color display in the middle.

Miiverse is a social-network that is designed to allow gameplay with your friends, along with all the updates we’ve come to expect, such as “Sam burned 110 calories today.” Or “Our kids are getting better at Dance Revolution!”.

What’s confusing me about Wii U?

I really thought that Wii U was a new controller that would work with my existing console. Turns out not.

Coexistence of Wii U Gamepad and Wiimotes: I think the new console will support 2 Gamepads and up to 4 controllers total (i.e., 2 Gamepads and 2 WiiMotes) – although it appears players using the Gamepad will have better capabilities in most games (not just improved by the visualization) to incentivize people to get two Gamepads. But boy will my kids be mad if I have an edge on them.

Does the Wii U console catch-up visually? Yes and No. The Wii has relied on component video for a long time. Now its finally getting an HDMI upgrade, with 1080p support. But word is out that all the current games are 720p. Hope we see some 1080 games!

What’s exciting?

PanoramaView – the ability to see 360 degrees of video around you - a great platform for Google Earth type applications – exploring the lost city of Atlantis, seeing the Great Wall, as well as immersive games.

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