The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others. As of August 2011, the Wii leads the generation over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales, and in December 2009 broke the record for best-selling console in a single month in the United States.
A distinguishing feature of the console is its wireless controller, the Wii Remote, which can be used as a handheld pointing device and detects movement in three dimensions. Another distinctive feature of the console is WiiConnect24, which enables it to receive messages and updates over the Internet while in standby mode.
The Wii is Nintendo's fifth home console and the direct successor of the Nintendo GameCube, being fully backwardly compatible with all GameCube games and most accessories. Nintendo first spoke of the console at the 2004 E3 press conference and later unveiled the system at the 2005 E3. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata revealed a prototype of the controller at the September 2005 Tokyo Game Show. At E3 2006, the console won the first of several awards. By December 8, 2006, it had completed its launch in four key markets.
Nintendo has released few technical details regarding the Wii system, but some key facts have leaked through the press. Though none of these reports has been officially confirmed, they generally point to the console as being an extension or advancement of the Nintendo GameCube architecture. More specifically, the reported analyses state that the Wii is roughly 1.5 to 2 times as powerful as its predecessor. Based on the leaked specifications, the Wii is the least powerful of the major home consoles in its generation.
- CPU: PowerPC-based "Broadway" processor, made with a 90 nm SOI CMOS process, reportedly† clocked at 729 MHz
- GPU: ATI "Hollywood" GPU made with a 90 nm CMOS process, reportedly† clocked at 243 MHz
^† None of the clock rates have been confirmed by Nintendo, IBM or ATI.
- 88 MB main memory (24 MB "internal" 1T-SRAM integrated into graphics package, 64 MB "external" GDDR3 SDRAM)
- 3 MB embedded GPU texture memory and framebuffer.
Ports and peripheral capabilities:
- Up to 16 Wii Remote controllers (10 in Standard Mode, 6 in One Time Mode, connected wirelessly via Bluetooth)
- Nintendo GameCube controller ports (4)
- Nintendo GameCube Memory Card slots (2)
- SD memory card slot (supports SDHC cards as of System Menu 4.0)
- USB 2.0 ports (2)
- Sensor Bar power port
- Accessory port on bottom of Wii Remote
- Optional USB keyboard input in message board, Wii Shop Channel, and the Internet Channel (as of 3.0 and 3.1 firmware update)
- Mitsumi DWM-W004 WiFi 802.11b/g wireless module
- Compatible with optional USB 2.0 to Ethernet LAN adapter
- "AV Multi Out" port (See "Video" section right)
Built-in content ratings systems:
- BBFC, CERO, ESRB, ACB, OFLC (NZ), PEGI, USK
- 512 MB built-in NAND flash memory
- Expanded storage via SD and SDHC card memory (up to 32 GB)
- Nintendo GameCube Memory Card (required for GameCube game saves)
- Slot-loading disc drive compatible with 8 cm Nintendo GameCube Game Disc and 12 cm Wii Optical Disc
- Mask ROM by Macronix
- Custom "AV Multi Out" port supporting composite video, YPBPR component video, S-Video (NTSC consoles only) and RGB SCART (PAL consoles only)
- 480p (PAL/NTSC), 480i (PAL/NTSC) or 576i (PAL/SECAM), standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
- Main: Stereo – Dolby Pro Logic II-capable
- Controller: Built-in speaker
- 18 W when switched on
- 9.6 W in standby with WiiConnect24 standby connection
- 1.3 W in standby