Rumour: Wii U set for June 2012 launch, Nintendo struggling to finalize hardware

Wii U Controller

A fresh rumour has just broken loose from 01net, the same site that accurately leaked a motherload of information about the Wii U several months ago – or as we knew it at the time, Project Café. According to their sources, Nintendo’s strategy of using slightly obsolete technology to minimize costs is on the verge of backfiring.

So far, the Wii U controller’s main chipset – that manages the device’s essential functions, including streaming and wireless – seems inadequate. This chip, described by our source as maybe a tad too cheap, has been the sources of many headaches in recent weeks. So far, the wireless functions simply do not work – at all. There have been so far three different prototypes, and a fourth iteration is expected by select developers at the end of the month.

Not the most optimistic words, but it gets worse. Developers are supposedly working with tethered controllers at the moment, but even those are full of problems – not to mention the fact that tethering the controller vastly reduces its mobility, and in turn, what can be done with it.

Despite all this, Nintendo’s internal release date for the system is in June (which fits with a previous comment by SEGA), which gives them about ten months to finalize the hardware. Video games take time to make, so our hopes for a brilliant lineup of launch titles may be dashed if Nintendo cannot get a final-spec system into developers’ hands on time. Furthermore, 01net speculates that the Xbox 360 successor’s reveal – reportedly set for next E3 – may play into things and dampen the world’s excitement for the Wii U, if Nintendo choose to push their release date back to deal with their hardware issues.

Ten months before the tentative release date – developers are still expecting a June 2012 release – the fact that Nintendo engineers are still struggling to make this supposedly final architecture function properly is worrisome at best. Could Nintendo have to make radical last-minute changes, and if so, what would be the cost? This unexpected development runs contrary to Nintendo’s reputation for carefully weighing all tech options long before any announcement. Inside the company, there have been talks of a delayed release, with September as a new tentative date. Being three months off-schedule doesn’t seem such a big issue, when compared to a home console’s life cycle. But this is not 2006 anymore. The industry is undergoing a radical mutation, and there is a growing amount of rumors positioning Microsoft’s next system to be unveiled during the 2012 E3 conference, and a relase in short order. If that was to happen, the Wii U would only enjoy a few months of “optimal run” alongside the Xbox 360, which would essentially moot the much-touted ease with which developers can port 360 code for the Wii U. To succeed in its incredibly audacious endeavour, Nintendo will have to walk a very tight rope.

Once again, all of the above is pure rumour; we have no idea how much, if any of it, is true. But 01net have a good track record with past leaks, so that gives this rumour some credibility.

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Comments, Reactions, and General Hooliganism

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  1. hooky

    Um, Xbox 360? :P

    Anyway, I hope Nintendo can figure everything out.

    • Whoops, I meant to say “Xbox 360 successor”. Thanks for pointing out my silly error! Fixed now.

  2. nintendo3DS

    More bad news from 01net? Come on, can’t they release some good news about Nintendo? :p

  3. Meelow

    I’ve read not that long ago that Nintendo is revising the Wii U so the Upad will be completely optional and apparently they are making the Wii U more powerful but that is also a rumor let see at TGS.

    • Nintendo won’t be at TGS. However, their September 13 event’s certainly going to be something to keep on your radar.

      Where’d you hear that rumour, Meelow? If you link me to it, I’d love to write about it. :)

    • Looks like a rather old rumour that never really got very far. In any case, the article you linked to mentions it, but doesn’t list a source, and I couldn’t find one on my own, either.

      Still, I’ll write it up as a discussion piece. Thanks!

    • Okami

      That article is just speculating about what they think Nintendo should do/think they maybe are doing. It’s not based on any sources, they are just writing, that since Nintendo has been reluctant in showing the WiiU since 3D – Perhaps they are rethinking the design.

      The 01net article (Wich also offers a plausible reason Ninty hasn’t shown the WiiU since E3) at least isn’t pure speculation.

  4. Mariomaster1

    Uh-huh, ok. Though if this were true, and the Wii U were to be moved back to September…..I would likely be sad because I would have to wait longer for the cool looking new system and it’s likely awesome lineup of games. But on the other hand, my Birthday is in September and I would’ve graduated from High School by then and therefore have that more money to spend on Wii U and its games! So…yeah, I’m not sure what to think.

  5. Mukkinese

    Well, new hardware always brings problems, no doubt Nintendo will sort this. As for Devs not being able to proceed, that seems unlikely. They can always keep using a cable connection, until they get the wireless controller. The functions shouldn’t change, some new software tools might need to be added to the final code, to make use of the wireless system, but that should not affect deving the game much.

    As for the “Nextbox”, Microsoft are not going to abandon P.C. architecture for goodness sake, that would be mad. So porting from a far more powerful Xbox would hold no more problems for the Wii U than porting from a powerful P.C. does now, which is to say, not much at all, considering most P.C. devs work with porting to consoles in mind.

  6. Wertville

    Same people who brought us the 3DS re-imaging rumor, right?

    That and the fact that this is the first case of wireless lacking rumored (Was it Wired at E3) make me a bit skeptical of this should-be believable rumor…

    • Also the same people who told us that the Wii U’s controller had a touchscreen and a camera – remember how crazy that sounded?

      I’m not saying it’s true, but 01net does have a little more weight than some random “insider” on 4chan. Or heck, Emily Rogers. :P

  7. Biohazard

    The buzz about the controller doesn’t sound too bad. If it’s going through prototype phases then problems should be expected – although having four iterations does sound a bit much.

  8. 0003mg

    I don’t care when they release it, just as long as there are no bugs.

  9. Xbox

    LOL, Looks like are making obsolete hardware again. No one’s gonna buy this flying unicorn if it’s another Wii console. Which it is :D

    Now im at ease knowing that it’s just another Wii which is no contest.

    • Yo

      How’s the technology going to be obsolete if it’s capable of doing more than the 360 and PS3 can? Ntm, it’s not another Wii system.

  10. game line up has to be amazing and include games like bf3, mw3 etc and price has to be £250 or lower at launch and if not then ill wait for a price drop

  11. nintendo need to release some fantastic demos for shooter games to racing games before i buy it as if the games are going to be the same like the wii then ill pass on it

  12. crackkat

    is this the same website that predicted a 3DS redesign announcement at the tokyo conference and failed epicly or is that a different site?