Nintendo has released first specs on its new Wii U console, giving in-depth information on the size and shape of the machine and its controller, the interfaces to the display and other connections to the outside world.
However, the released data gives away very little about the performance of the console, omitting any kind of detail on the graphics chip utilised and the make-up of the IBM CPU. Other important information - such as the resolution of the 6.2-inch 16:9 touchscreen are also omitted from the PDF contained in Nintendo's official press pack.
Compatibility with the existing range of Wii controllers is confirmed though, and we also discover that additional peripherals in the pack include a Wii-style sensor bar plus a stylus for the touchscreen controller. Nintendo also reveals that the system uses its own proprietary "high density" discs - rumoured to be an off-shoot of Blu-ray technology. The actual capacity of these discs is not revealed.
HDMI is confirmed as the primary video interface and support for six channel (5.1) uncompressed audio is also mentioned - a step down from the 7.1 LPCM integrated into the PlayStation 3, but an upgrade on the Dolby Digital-only system employed in the Xbox 360.
Update: In a post-conference Q+A, Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime has revealed that the Wii U controller's touchscreen does not support multi-touch, being single-touch only, and also confirmed that footage shown in the third party showreel came from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the games.
The full spec list from Nintendo is as follows:
Size: Approximately 1.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide and 10.5 inches long.
New Controller: The new controller incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 touch screen and traditional button controls, including two analog Circle Pads. This combination removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus.
Other Controls: Up to four Wii Remote (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers can be connected at once. The new console supports all Wii controllers and input devices, including the Nunchuk controller, Classic Controller, Classic Controller Pro and Wii Balance Board.
Media: A single self-loading media bay will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs for the new console, as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs.
Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite.
Audio Output: Uses AV Multi Out connector. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI.
Storage: The console will have internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive.
CPU: IBM Power®-based multi-core microprocessor.
Other: Four USB 2.0 connector slots are included. The new console is backward compatible with Wii games and Wii accessories.