There’s a new player in the battle for the living room, and shockingly, it’s Nintendo. In the current generation of console wars, Sony and Microsoft decided to turn their video game systems into expensive home entertainment devices–losing money on every console sold in the process–while Nintendo turned out smaller, less expensive video game players with intuitive motion control and only the basest of media capability. In the short term, this was wildly successful for Nintendo, who sold a hundred million Wiis to just about everyone from retirement homes to gamers looking for something different. The Wii’s successor, the Wii U, will hit stores on November 18 and will be taking a different tack entirely.
The Wii U will function as a very powerful home entertainment hub, with a variety of features. The GamePad, which is more like a tablet than anything else, will function as a remote control with the ability to create program and channel favorite lists, control DVR systems, stream videos from a variety of sources via its TVii program, a social network called the Miiverse, and will have the ability to push games directly to the GamePad screen.
It’s packed with features and, as such, will be the most expensive console of the next generation if nothing changes. The new offerings from Sony and Microsoft are expected to go for $250 and $200 respectively for the most basic models; the Wii U base model will be an 8GB affair for $299.99, and a deluxe 32 GB version for $349.99.
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