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Official logo of the Wii
Wii (left) and Wii Remote (right)
Manufacturer Nintendo
Type stationary game console
JapanJapan December 2, 2006
United StatesUnited States November 19, 2006
EuropeEurope December 8, 2006
Main processor IBM PowerPC 750 CL "Broadway" clocked at 729 MHz
Graphics processor ATI "Hollywood" clocked at 243 MHz
Storage media Own double- and single-layer disc
Controller All versions : Wii Remote , Wii Classic Controller , Wii Classic Controller Pro
Only first version : GameCube and Wavebird controllers
Online service WiiConnect24 (discontinued)
Units sold approx. 101.63 million (as of September 30, 2019)
Most successful game Wii Sports (approximately 82.87 million units sold)
(As of March 31, 2019)
predecessor Nintendo GameCube
successor Wii U

The Wii [ wiː ] is a stationary game console released in 2006 by the Japanese company Nintendo . It is the successor to the Nintendo GameCube . It was first released in North America on November 19, 2006, then in Japan on December 2, 2006 and finally in Europe on December 8, 2006 . As a seventh generation console , it was in direct competition with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 . Its main feature is the controller , which is similar to a conventional remote control , but has built-in motion sensors and vibration motors. These register the position and movements of the controller in space and translate them into corresponding movements of game figures or elements on the screen. Whereas with conventional gaming systems, users had to press buttons on the controller or analog sticks, they can now control the games by moving the controller themselves. The game system consisting of hardware and software measures the three-dimensional movements of the user. The console has been sold over 100 million times. The Wii's motion-sensitive controller caused a significant boost in sales of motion-controlled games due to the console's great sales success. Nintendo's console prompted competitors to release their own motion-sensitive hardware extensions, Sony's PlayStation Move and Microsoft's Kinect . It established motion control as an attractive option in the video game industry and influenced the ongoing development in this area. It is also known for its characteristic music of the individual channels.

main features


First version

The dimensions of the console are 157 mm × 215.4 mm × 44 mm. It is therefore significantly smaller than the competitors from Sony and Microsoft. Like the PlayStation 2 , PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it can be operated both vertically and horizontally.

The housing is made almost entirely of a white or black, glossy plastic. A light gray plastic stand is included in the packaging, which gives the Wii a slight incline upwards when it is set up vertically. In the spring of 2007, Shigeru Miyamoto announced further color variants for the console as soon as production capacities can meet demand. The console and Wiimote were shown in lime green, silver, black and red. A black Wii has been sold in Japan since August 2009, but none of the other color variants have been available yet. Since November 20, 2009, a black, limited edition Wii has also been offered in Germany.

Second version

The first hardware revision appeared in October 2011, which, unlike the first version, is no longer compatible with GameCube games and accessories and can only be set up horizontally. On the occasion of the 2012 Olympic Games in London there has been a light blue version in a bundle with the game “Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games” since November 18, 2011.

Third version (Wii mini)

On December 7, 2012, a third revision of the Wii console was released - initially exclusively in Canada. As Wii mini referred to the unit in the color combination black / red with a sensor bar, an A / V cable, a Wii Remote included MotionPlus and Nunchuck ships. Compared to the first version, this model also lacks GameCube backwards compatibility, the console cannot be connected to the Internet and compatibility with S-Video (NTSC), RGB (PAL) and component video cables as well as SD Cards canceled. In addition, this revision is reduced in size. The Wii mini was released in Germany on March 15, 2013, and a week later, on March 22, 2013, in Great Britain.

"Wii Remote" input device

"Wii Remote" with Nunchuk extension

The controller was introduced in September 2005 and is reminiscent of a remote control , making it especially in the English-speaking world as a Wiimote [ wi: ɪ'məʊt ] ( Engl. Remote (control)  = remote control) is called. With the help of two reference points in the sensor bar , which is placed at the bottom in front of or on top of the television, and an infrared camera on the front of the Wiimote, which detects up to 4 infrared sources, the position of the controller can be determined relative to the screen. This makes it possible to target game objects directly on the screen.

In addition, the controller contains an acceleration sensor with which movements and rotations of the controller can be detected and used directly for game control. There are also various buttons and a directional pad.

Communication with the console is wireless via Bluetooth . The maximum distance is 10 meters. If the Wiimote is used to aim at the screen (menu navigation or when playing), the distance is reduced to a maximum of 3 meters (manufacturer information ) so that the movements can be detected by infrared . The distance to the sensor bar must be at least 1 meter and at most 3 meters when using the infrared connection.

The controller can generate vibration effects for additional, mechanical feedback to the player. The Wiimote also has a built-in loudspeaker. An internal memory enables user profiles to be saved. In addition, game avatars (so-called Mii ) that you have created yourself can be saved, for example to take the tennis player from home to friends and play with him there.

Unconventional use of the Wiimote

Since the Wiimote remote control communicates with the receiver via Bluetooth, the signal can be processed by any Bluetooth-enabled receiver (e.g. PC). Johnny Chung Lee from Carnegie Mellon University came up with the idea of ​​using the Wiimote as a receiver camera for infrared signals. With his method, any computer can be remotely controlled using an infrared pen and a Wiimote. The infrared signal takes over the function of the mouse pointer.

"Wii Balance Board" input device

Games compatible with the Balance Board are marked with this symbol
Wii balance board

With the games Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus , another controller is supplied, the so-called "Balance Board". It is a balance body scale that consists of four accessible sensor surfaces. The position and shifts of body weight are sent to the console via Bluetooth to influence the game. The game Wii Fit can mainly be controlled with the balance board. The maximum body weight must not exceed 150 kg. When using the “Wii Balance Board”, a maximum of three other players can register with a “Wii Remote Control”, as the “Balance Board” occupies the 4th player position. This means, among other things, if a fourth "Wii Remote Control" is connected that this remote control is automatically switched off as soon as a "Wii Balance Board" is switched on. A “Wii Balance Board” also requires four 1.5V LR06 AA batteries.

Online skills

Logo from WiiConnect24

The Wii console was designed to be permanently connected to the Internet ( console that never sleeps ).

If this function, marketed as WiiConnect24 , is activated, the console maintains a constant connection to the manufacturer's servers. This connection also remains in the idle state. So until June 28, 2013 messages could be received and updates of the Wii software could be made by Nintendo.

Multiplayer games are handled via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection . So far it has been used for Nintendo DS titles (e.g. Mario Kart DS ). The first Wii title to use WiFi connection is Pokémon Battle Revolution . The first European game with WiFi connection is Mario Strikers Charged Football .

The WiiSpeak (since December 2008) is supposed to enable voice communication between two to four consoles.

Sufficiently fast internet access is a prerequisite for using the online functions. The console is already equipped with WiFi . Alternatively, if there is no WLAN base station , the following network connections are possible with additional hardware:

  • A Windows PC with the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector takes over the function of the base station. Disadvantage: The connection can only be used if the PC is running and is itself connected to the Internet.
  • The Wii console is expanded via USB with a LAN adapter, which enables the connection of a network cable, for example the Nintendo Wii LAN adapter . Disadvantage: The Nintendo Wii LAN adapter does not support a connection via PPPoE .

In February 2014, Nintendo announced that it would shut down many important online functions of the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS on May 20, 2014. This affects online multiplayer, matchmaking and leaderboards for the Wii and DS titles. Wii and DS titles that are played on the current and backwards compatible systems Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS are also affected.

Console code

Each Wii console has an individual identifier, the console code . It can be viewed through the console operating system.

The console code is currently used in addressing the console:

  • You can give this code to friends or publish it. The Wii Notice Board can be used to register other consoles and then receive and send messages.
  • The Wii console is assigned an e-mail address according to the scheme w123456789@wii.com (where the number is replaced by the respective console code), so that after an activation e-mail can be communicated with other participants via the Wii pin board.

User interface with channels

The Main Menu (Wii Menu) organizes the services of the Wii console in the form of "channels" (English channels ).

The similarity to conventional TV channels is intended to reduce the inhibition threshold for using the console for new target groups beyond the usual video gamers by offering these users a familiar environment. This concept also means that the main input device , the Wii remote control (English: Wiimote ), is deliberately designed to resemble a familiar TV remote control. The - and + buttons on the Wii remote control can be used to easily switch between channels.

In the main menu, the channels are displayed in the form of pages with three lines each with four large icons . The Wii console comes with the Disc Channel, the Mii Channel, the Photo Channel, the Wii Shop Channel (requires Internet connection), the Weather Channel (requires Internet connection) and the News Channel (requires Internet connection ) delivered.

  • The disc channel symbolizes the possibility of loading games via the built-in optical drive of the Wii console. If an optical storage medium is inserted, i.e. a Wii Disc or a GameCube Disc, the logo of the corresponding game for the channel is displayed. Selecting this channel then starts the game.
  • The Mii Channel allows the creation and management of the "Miis". These are three-dimensional game figures (see also avatars ) that can be created and changed from individual pre-made picture elements (e.g. eyes, nose or hairstyle), similar to phantom images . These figures can then be used as game figures in games like Wii Sports or as a signature extension in the Wii Message Board. It is also possible to save Miis on the Wiimote controller in order to use them on other players' systems. The appearance of the Miis is based on Kokeshi figures.
  • In the Photo Channel Images and video clips can, on an SD card are stored, viewed and changed. Simple games such as a puzzle with the photos or videos are also possible. It is also possible to listen to music during a slide show which has also been saved on the SD card.

There are also other channels that are only available after connecting the Wii console to the Internet and then updating the system software.

  • The Wii Shop Channel (since December 2006, the ability to purchase new products discontinued on January 31, 2019) allowed the purchase of new games and software over the Internet. Older games were offered for execution on the Virtual Console , additional channels such as the Internet channel, and games newly developed for Wii under the name WiiWare . The price was displayed in the internal game currency Wii Points . New credit for the Wii Shop Channel could only be topped up until March 26, 2018, new games and software could only be purchased until January 31, 2019. Articles that have already been purchased can still be downloaded, but will be discontinued in the course of 2019.
  • The weather channel (since December 19, 2006, discontinued on June 28, 2013) provides weather information for larger cities. This can be displayed on an interactive 3D world map.
  • The news channel (since January 26, 2007, discontinued on June 28, 2013) offers many opportunities to select and read news thematically and geographically (it is advisable to study the instructions, these can be reached via the home button). What stands out is a presentation mode in which the location of the news is displayed parallel to the headlines on a three-dimensional animated globe. The news provider is Agence France-Presse or The Associated Press , depending on the location .
  • The Internet channel (since April 12, 2007, pre-release version available since December 22, 2006) is a Wii version of the Opera web browser with which the user can surf the Internet. The browser supports current Internet standards such as HTTPS , so that complex or interactive websites such as Google Maps can also be used. With the included Flash - plug-in (version 7) video files can be played and played in Flash programmed games, for example, via wiicade.com. The internet channel has been available again for free since September 2009, after having been able to download it for free until July 2007. Anyone who has previously purchased the Channel for 500 Wii Points (equivalent to 5.00 ) will be compensated by Nintendo until the end of December 2009 with a freely selectable Virtual Console game that was originally released on the NES.
  • The opinion channel (since February 14, 2007, discontinued on June 28, 2013) enables participation in national and international opinion polls and allows insight into their results. Each user votes with their own Mii. It is possible to tap the answer that you think will appear the most often. These predictions are later compared with the actual voting results. The hit rate achieved is then included in various parameters which are intended to help assess human knowledge. It is saved in a statistics profile for the Mii. Since users can set their country, region and gender, the evaluation allows the results to be displayed according to these characteristics of gender, country and region. Finally, the user can suggest his own questions with possible answers to Nintendo.
  • The Nintendo Channel (since May 30, 2008, discontinued June 28, 2013) provides information about new products. Demo versions of Nintendo DS games can also be downloaded onto a Nintendo DS (lite) or a Nintendo DSi (XL).
  • The Glückstagskanal (since September 9, 2009) provides information about the daily horoscope and gives tips on nutrition, relationships and activities. When the date of birth has been entered and you have uploaded your Mii, you will receive your horoscope in the areas of love, professional life, learning, communication and finance.
  • The games downloaded from the network via the Wii Shop Channel are displayed as new channels. Up to System Menu 3.4, downloaded channels could only be copied to an SD memory card like saved games, but could not be used directly from this. These had to be copied back to the internal memory of the Wii beforehand. With System Version 4.0, the SD card menu made it possible to run channels directly from the SD card . However, the data of the channel is also only temporarily copied to the console before it is started. A channel can only be used on the console from which it was downloaded.
  • The Kirby TV channel (since June 23, 2011, discontinued after all episodes had run through) offers a new episode with Kirby every Monday and Thursday.
  • Some games, such as Wii Fit or Mario Kart Wii, offer the option of installing an additional channel that offers individual functions of the game without the associated CD having to be inserted.
  • The YouTube channel (since December 12, 2012, discontinued June 30, 2017) allows the playback of videos from the said online portal. The background is that the old YouTube Flash app for televisions will no longer be available from June 30, 2017.

Another service of the Wii Menu is the Wii Notice Board . This is used to write notes to other users of the Wii console, to automatically send messages about newly purchased games etc. to friends' Wiis, and messages from Nintendo itself appear on the wall, such as the announcement that new system Updates are now available.

Virtual Console

In addition to GameCube compatibility, the Wii also has a function called Virtual Console [ 'vɜːtʃuːəl' kə'nsəɔl ]. Via the Virtual Console, games for various consoles from the last 20 years, namely so far NES , Super Nintendo , Nintendo 64 , PC Engine (aka TurboGrafx), Sega Master System , Sega Mega Drive and Commodore 64 can be played through emulation . They are available via Internet download and can be stored in the internal flash memory or on an SD memory card. Before buying a Virtual Console title, you can see in the catalog of the shop channel whether a GameCube controller, a Classic controller or the Wii Remote are suitable. Donkey Kong , for example, can be played with all three controllers.

The virtual console service is also intended to be used as a distribution platform for newly developed games, as is the case with Xbox Live Arcade . In this way, smaller games can be sold directly to the customer and do not have to be exhibited in stores at great expense.

A point system (Wii Points) is used for billing , which can be topped up with a prepaid voucher (Wii Points Card) or credit card. 1,000 Wii Points currently cost 10 euros. The costs for the games are currently 1000 points ( N64 ), 900 points ( Neo Geo ), 800 points ( SNES and Mega Drive ), 600 points ( PC Engine ) and 500 points ( NES ). In this way, Nintendo decouples the possibility of online purchases from owning your own credit card and at the same time abstracts the costs for possible expansion of the Wii functionality.

Games that have been paid for and downloaded can be downloaded to the same console over and over again for free if they have been deleted. However, they cannot be exchanged or resold. In the event of a hardware defect in the console, you have to rely on Nintendo support to transfer the purchased games to a new console.

Multimedia skills

The Wii has limited multimedia capabilities :

Images, audio and video files
  • Photo Channel: Playback of pictures and videos (only JPEG format ) from SD card (see Wii Channels). The channel also plays AAC files, but only as background music for slide shows. The playback of MP3 files is no longer possible since December 2007, only the playback of audio files in AAC format is possible, supposedly to ensure better quality.
  • Internet channel: video and audio files over the Flash - plug-in of the Opera -Webbrowsers by a converter software is installed on the local server. This procedure even enables Internet radio ( streaming media ).

No HDTV signal output

The highest 4: 3 screen resolution of the Wii is the 576i mode (standard resolution , for the full screen mode only the NTSC resolution of 480p is possible). When the 16: 9 and 480p modes are activated, the Wii can output a signal of 852 × 480 pixels. An extra shielded cable is necessary for the 480p mode.

An HD-ready television can be used as a display device for 480p . European tube sets are far more rarely able to display. Alternatively, you can also use a color transcoder from YPbPr to VGA for use on PC monitors.

HDTV is not supported on the Wii primarily for cost reasons, on the one hand because of the higher development costs for the games, since these would then have to be developed for both SDTV and HDTV, on the other hand because it would have made the console hardware more expensive. Another reason is the fact that HDTV-capable televisions were still rarely widespread in Japanese households when the console appeared. Nintendo announced that only a successor to the Wii will support HDTV, as HDTV will be more widespread by then.

In 2013, Shigeru Miyamoto stated that HD would have been great for the Wii.

No DVD playback

Two months before the start of sales, the manufacturer announced that the initially announced option of playing DVD films would not be realized. Originally, this function was supposed to be permanently integrated into the console and activated via a dongle . The reason given was that a lower selling price was possible and that almost every household had a DVD player.

The reason for this restriction is according to the manufacturer of modchips "Wiinja" the quality of the laser lens in the drive of the Wii: These take under permanent use, as is necessary when playing video, fast damage.

This restriction can be circumvented by modifying the software which is not supported by Nintendo and which will result in a loss of warranty rights (with regard to the drive) and the guarantee. In theory, not only can DVDs be played back, but DVD-Video collections can also be displayed on a connected hard drive.

Firmware updates

Firmware version Release date content
1.0 Manufacturing Pre-installed firmware
2.0 11/19/2006 SD support & parental controls
2.1 01/10/2007 News channel
2.2 04/11/2007 Fixed network problems
3.0 08/06/2007 WiiConnect24
3.1 10/10/2007 USB keyboard support
3.2 02/25/2008 unknown
3.3 06/17/2008 Prevents an exploit from running .
3.4 11/17/2008 Minor improvements
3.5 03/03/2009 (Korea only) New shop channel
4.0 03/25/2009 SDHC support
4.1 July 2009 Troubleshooting Wii MotionPlus
4.2 09/28/2009 Prevents an exploit from running.
4.3 06/21/2010 Prevents an exploit from running.

GameCube compatibility

Connections for GameCube controllers and memory cards

The Wii model, which replaced the previous model in Germany for Christmas 2011, is no longer backwards compatible with the previous GameCube console . GameCube titles can be played on the original version. The Wii's slot-in drive can read the smaller GameCube discs and there are connections for GameCube controllers and memory cards. To be able to play GameCube games on the Wii, you need a GameCube controller and, in order to be able to use memory functions, a GameCube memory card. There are extra connections on the top of the Wii for this purpose. In GameCube mode, the Wii hardware such as the Wii Remote Control, the internal Wii storage slots, SD expansion card and both USB ports are deactivated and the CPU is downclocked. Hackers have also discovered that another operating system (called MIOS) is running on the Wii in Gamecube mode.

Since the Wiimote was originally developed as an accessory for the GameCube, the Wii hardware is essentially an extension of the GameCube hardware. In particular, the main processor and graphics processor are successor models from the same manufacturer. Therefore, the GameCube mode of the Wii is implemented by switching off the Wii extensions internally and reducing the clock rates. Thus is the Wii, a GameCube in this mode. This is interesting for the homebrew scene, as it ensures full compatibility of the GameCube homebrew software on the Wii.

Hardware extensions for the GameCube such as GBA players or LAN adapters cannot be connected. The network hardware of the Wii is also not displayed on the virtual GameCube console, so that the GameCube's limited online capabilities cannot be used.

In addition to the ability to play GameCube titles on the console, some Wii games such as: B. Mario Kart Wii , Super Smash Bros. Brawl , Sonic Colors , as well as in all Virtual Console titles, the option of using a connected Nintendo GameCube controller as an alternative to control with Wii Remote, Nunchuk and / or Classic Controller to play.

Nintendo DS connection

With the previous GameCube system, the Game Boy Advance could be connected with a special cable. With some games (for example Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell ) you could use the GBA as a controller and to display additional data, provided you also had the GBA version of the game. In other games (for example Fire Emblem ) you were rewarded for owning both the GameCube version and the GBA version with bonus material (e.g. additional missions).

In other cases, you could combine two games in the same series to get additional objects, features, etc. and transfer them between games. (Example: Chao modes from Sonic Adventure 2 : Battle or Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and Sonic Advance (1-3).)

With Wii, a connection to the Nintendo DS is possible via WLAN . The first game with this feature is Pokémon Battle Revolution . Owners of the DS games Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Perl can transfer their Pokémon to Wii here. Demo versions of NintendoDS games can also be downloaded via Wii and the Nintendo Channel.

Prices and accessories

The Wii sensor bar (LEDs are highlighted, usually not visible)
Infrared recording of the Wii sensor bar . The infrared light emitting diodes at the ends are clearly visible

On September 14, 2006, Nintendo announced the date and recommended retail prices at press conferences in Japan and the USA and on September 15, 2006 in London.

scope of delivery Prices equipment
  • Wii console with stand
  • Game Wii Sports (not in Japan)
  • 1 Wii remote control ( controller )
  • 1 nunchuk extension
  • Sensor bar with stand
  • A / V cable
  • power adapter
  • EU 249 €
  • Switzerland 399 CHF (262 €)
  • Japan 25,000 yen (185 €)
  • USA $ 249.99 (€ 185)
    (Prices in yen and dollars are net prices, in euros they are gross prices.)
  • Great Britain 170 pounds (€ 187)
  • Wii remote controller
  • Nunchuk extension
  • Wii Classic Controller
  • Wii Classic Controller Pro
  • RGB cable, for an improved display in 50 or 60 Hz mode
  • YPbPr component cable, for display in 480p or 576i mode

In October 2009 the price of the console was reduced by $ 50 or € 50. The reason for this price reduction is that Nintendo wants to address new target groups.

Wii Black

scope of delivery Prices equipment
  • EU 209.00 €
  • Japan 20,000 yen (€ 145)
  • Controller Wii-Remote (black)
  • Nunchuk extension (black)
  • Classic Controller (black)
  • Classic Controller Pro (black)
  • RGB cable, for an improved display in 50 or 60 Hz mode
  • YPbPr component cable, for display in 480p or 576i mode

According to Nintendo, the black Wii edition is limited and was released on November 20, 2009.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Pack

scope of delivery Prices equipment
  • EU 149.99 €
  • RGB cable, for an improved display in 50 or 60 Hz mode
  • YPbPr component cable, for display in 480p or 576i mode

According to Nintendo, the red Wii edition is limited and was released on October 29, 2010.

Mario Kart Wii Pack

scope of delivery Prices equipment
  • EU 199.99 €
  • RGB cable, for an improved display in 50 or 60 Hz mode
  • YPbPr component cable, for display in 480p or 576i mode

The Mario Kart Wii Pack is limited according to Nintendo and was released on November 26, 2010.

Wii Fit Plus Pack

scope of delivery Prices equipment
  • black Wii console with stand
  • Game Wii Sports
  • Game Wii Fit Plus
  • 1 black Wii remote control plus ( controller )
  • 1 black nunchuk controller
  • 1 black remote control cover
  • 1 remote control loop
  • 1 black balance board ( controller )
  • Sensor bar with stand
  • A / V cable with SCART adapter
  • power adapter
  • EU € 249.99
  • RGB cable, for an improved display in 50 or 60 Hz mode
  • YPbPr component cable, for display in 480p or 576i mode

The Wii Fit Plus Pack was released on December 6, 2010.

Wii mini

Wii mini
scope of delivery Prices
  • red-black Wii console in a reduced form (top loader) without GameCube compatibility, SD card reader and WLAN function
  • 1 red Wii Remote Plus ( controller )
  • 1 red Nunchuk controller
  • 1 red remote control cover
  • 1 remote control loop
  • Sensor bar
  • A / V cable
  • power adapter
  • CAN $ 99.99
  • EU 99.99 €

The Wii mini was released in Canada on December 7, 2012. The Wii mini came to Europe on March 15, 2013.


Size comparison of the Wii to GameCube , Nintendo 64 , the North American version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Nintendo Entertainment System , from top to bottom.

After long speculation about the successor to the GameCube with the project name Revolution [ rɛvə'luːʃən ], Nintendo presented a prototype of the new game console for the first time in 2005 at the video game fair , albeit without a controller . After long secrecy, Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata showed the controller on September 16, 2005 at the Tokyo Game Show . New games were not shown, only a few technology demos. Star designer Shigeru Miyamoto ( The Legend of Zelda , Super Mario ) made a brief guest appearance at the event.

In 2006, the final name of the game console was announced a few days before the start of E³. At the press conference for E³, Nintendo showed the game console and controller in action. There were live demonstrations from Twilight Princess, Red Steel and Wii Sports: Tennis . Some new details have been released. The controller had a small built-in loudspeaker that acoustically supports certain actions (for example shooting an arrow in Zelda), and there was confirmation that the Nunchuk extension has its own motion sensor. At Nintendo's booth, 24 titles were playable for Wii. The functionality of the Virtual Console was demonstrated with five playable titles. Newly shown extensions for the controller were a gamepad for the virtual console and a gun attachment for the new edition of the game Duck Hunt .

Business strategy

With the Wii, as with the portable Nintendo DS , Nintendo is pursuing a marketing strategy aimed at expanding the market for video games to new target groups and avoiding competition with the competition that is superior in the areas of graphics and computing power. This is known as the blue ocean strategy . The simple control of Wii games should increasingly appeal to new customers who were previously not enthusiastic about video games. There is no industry-typical subsidy for the purchase of consoles.

In order to address previous non-gamers with the system, Nintendo decided to use the made-up word Wii for a non-technical name. Associations with the same pronunciation in English we (German "we") are wanted and used in marketing. The character string Wii in a sans serif, rounded and light gray font is also the product logo, with the two small i's in the advertising sometimes animated like stylized people. According to Nintendo, the name of the console should be used without articles. To prevent the names Wii and Mii from being misused in slightly modified form, the names Aii, Bii, Cii etc. have been protected by the Japanese Trademark and Patent Office.

Until the new name was announced in April 2006, the working title was Nintendo Revolution . It can still be found in the order numbers, for example the Wiimote has the order number RVL-003 .

In line with the console name “Wii” [ wɪː ] there are avatars called “Mii” [ mɪː ] with which some games can be personalized. Since the N64 console, Nintendo has placed great value on multiplayer capabilities, which are now to be emphasized even more by the choice of the console name and the avatars.

Cultural influence

Sales figures (as of January 1, 2011)
region Units sold Sales start
America approximately 53.27 million November 19, 2006
Japan approximately 11.32 million December 2, 2006
Other regions approximately 33.05 million December 7, 2006
Worldwide approximately 84.65 million
  • In early November 2006, shortly before the US release, two episodes of the television cartoon series South Park were broadcast (episode 12 Go God Go (Eng. God is dead ) and 13 Go God Go XII (Eng. God is dead II ) of the 10th season ), which featured Eric Cartman's agonizing wait for the new console and his attempts to shorten it.
  • Shortly after the release of the Wii console, a number of reports surfaced on the Internet, especially from the United States, claiming that avid gamers, particularly those from Wii Sports (this game makes extensive use of the new Wii controller), have suffered various physical mishaps:
    • Destroyed TVs from Wiimote impact.
    • Injured teammates (including blue eyes).
    • Notwithstanding this warning, Nintendo responded with even clearer notices and an exchange campaign in which customers can swap the Wii wrist strap for an even more stable version. In addition, there has been a protective cover for the Wii Remote since the beginning of October 2007 (in delivery from October 15, 2007), which should protect against possible damage.
  • The first medical studies on the effects of Wii games have been published: On the one hand by the renowned Mayo Clinic , which confirmed a positive health effect through more movement of the players in front of the console. On the other hand, there is also a case report called "Acute Wiiitis" published in the New England Journal of Medicine , which highlights negative effects on the musculoskeletal system .


Consoles are usually closed systems, i.e. H. the manufacturer strictly controls which software can run on the machine. This is an integral part of the business model , for example in order to establish a certain quality standard, but also partly in order to reimburse hardware subsidies via license fees (the Wii is not subsidized, however). In addition to the official developers, there are always attempts by interested third parties to get software to run on such a system, especially by the so-called homebrew community. The same applies to additional hardware. The access restrictions for the user start with the fact that special screws , so-called tri-wing screws , are used on the housing .

In the past, software pirates and homebrew hackers worked together to gain access to the systems. In the current 7th generation of consoles , there are signs of a change in manufacturer policy. In order to gain influence on the modifications that were previously uncontrollable, the manufacturers of some systems offer the opportunity to get your own software to run. Nintendo offers such a concept under the title “WiiWare”. WiiWare also allows small development studios to develop software for the Wii and offer it for sale online. However, private individuals are not allowed to do this, they must continue to resort to unofficial solutions.

  • It is now possible to modify the sensor bar so that the length of the original connection cable is no longer an obstacle when using the system with video projectors and large rear projection televisions. Thanks to the basically simple structure of the sensor bar, it is relatively easy to create your own sensor bar. Wireless sensor strips from third-party suppliers are already available in the single-digit euro range.
  • The first modchips were released. At first you could only play private copies with these , but now Wii Homebrew can also be started. However, a modchip is not absolutely necessary for this, you can also take advantage of an exploit . There are several instructions on the subject on the Internet.
Player at Leisure Taiwan 2007

Games (selection)

At the start of the console's sales in Germany, 15 games were already available. Since then, new titles from manufacturers such as Nintendo , Electronic Arts , Ubisoft , THQ , Midway Games , Sega and Activision have appeared almost weekly . Furthermore, some titles were released exclusively in neighboring European countries, but these can be played as an import on the German console without any problems and in many cases contain German voice output and menu navigation.

Game porting from GameCube

Under the name “new Play Control!” Nintendo publishes games that were previously released for the GameCube. These are now adapted for control with the Wii remote control and in 16: 9 format. In addition, the titles should also get other minor improvements such as improved graphics, multiplayer modes or alternative storage options.

So far available are Pikmin , Pikmin 2 , Mario Tennis and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat . In addition, the Wii ports Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, only released individually in Japan, were taken into account in the form of the Metroid Prime: Trilogy , which is not listed as a representative of the "New Play Control!" Series. In addition, the game The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess appeared almost simultaneously for GameCube and Wii.

Games for the Virtual Console

As with the main console, a region lock system is used for the games in the Virtual Console . For example, the titles offered in Japan cannot be played on European consoles or are not offered in Europe. 16 titles were available for the European launch of the Wii, including classics such as Super Mario 64 , Donkey Kong , Sonic the Hedgehog , Bomberman '93 and The Legend of Zelda . The games catalog is currently being expanded with new titles on a weekly basis, usually on Fridays. The games are paid for with so-called Wii-Points (Wii-Points), which can be purchased directly with a credit card or in the form of Nintendo eShop-Cards (initially Wii-Points-Card) in specialist shops. An eShop card with 2,000 points is available for around 20 euros (CH 30–40 francs).

The virtual console games are divided into different price categories (100 Wii Points correspond to 1.00 Euro):

  • NES games cost 500 Wii Points
  • Commodore 64 games cost 500 Wii Points
  • TurboGrafx games cost 600 Wii Points (TurboGrafx CD games: 800 Wii Points)
  • SNES games cost 800 Wii Points
  • Mega Drive games cost 800 Wii Points
  • Neo-Geo games cost 900 Wii Points
  • Nintendo 64 games cost 1,000 Wii Points

An exception are games that have not yet appeared in Europe, these cost 100 (for N64 titles 200) Wii Points more (for example Sin & Punishment 1200 Wii Points, Picross 900 Wii Points or Super Mario Bros .: The Lost Levels 600 Wii Points).

The category Virtual Console game provides an incomplete overview ; general games category wii game .

Games over WiiWare

Smaller, new games such as Fast Racing League or Alien Crush Returns were also offered as paid downloads via WiiWare. This should make it possible for smaller publishers to bring out games for the console. It was also a response to the fact that the competing consoles have had such smaller games that can be downloaded since they were released.


The Dolphin software is an emulator that can emulate the Wii and Nintendo GameCube on a computer or smartphone .

Technical specifications

The main processor , codenamed “Broadway”, is based on the “ PowerPC 750 CL” architecture and was developed jointly by IBM and Nintendo. The 4.2 × 4.5 mm (18.9 mm²) chip is manufactured by IBM in a 90 nm SOI process.

The graphics processor , code-named "Hollywood", was jointly developed by ATI Technologies and Nintendo for Wii. The graphics unit is based on the GameCube's "Flipper" graphics chip and offers no major innovations apart from an increased clock frequency. ATI does not use Hollywood architecture in graphics chips for PCs. The graphics memory is integrated into the chip as eDRAM and uses fast “1T SRAM” memory cells from the Californian technology company MoSys.

The chip also houses a second ARM9 CPU (NEC ARM926EJ-S) clocked at 243 MHz , which is primarily responsible for device I / O and security functions.

NEC manufactures the chip in a 90 nm process in its Japanese plant in Yamagata.


  • Output: (PAL) analog with composite (FBAS), RGB and component signals (YPbPr) on the proprietary multi-AV port
  • Output: (NTSC) analog with composite (FBAS), S-Video (YC) and component signals (YPbPr) on the proprietary multi-AV port
  • Format: 4: 3 or 16: 9


  • Main source: Stereo - " Dolby Pro Logic II " capable.
  • Controller: integrated loudspeaker.

random access memory

  • 88 MB main memory (24 MB "internal" (fast) 1T SRAM , 64 MB "external" GDDR 3 SDRAM )
  • 3 MB GPU texture memory
  • 512 MB flash memory (expandable via an SD or (since firmware update 4.0 also) SDHC card with a size of up to 32 GB)


Optical storage medium for Wii

Optical media slot-in drive with support for the following content:

  • Medium "RVL-006" based on 12 cm DVD (games for Wii)
  • Nintendo GameCube Game Disc "DOL-006", 8 cm diameter (games for GameCube)


  • Wireless connection to the console in the wireless network standard Bluetooth version 2.0
  • Maximum distance to the console: 5 m
  • Accelerometer Analog Devices ADXL330  - IC for acceleration measurement in 3 spatial dimensions, measuring range min. −3 g to +3 g, sensitivity ± 300 mV / g, accuracy ± 10%, compact design (4 mm × 4 mm × 1.75 mm)


  • 1 analog multi-AV port for video and audio signals
  • 1 slot for SD cards
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4 sockets for GameCube controller (only in model rvl-001)
  • 2 slots for GameCube memory cards (also only in model rvl-001)
  • 1 socket for the sensor strip
  • 1 socket for the external power supply

Wireless LAN

Power consumption

The following consumption values ​​come from the ComputerBase website:

  • Operation (green power LED): 19 W
  • Standby (orange power LED): 10 W (WiiConnect24 activated)
  • Switched off (red power LED): 1 W

Pressing the power button for a longer period of time puts the Wii console in switch-off mode, although, strictly speaking, energy is still being converted here.

4th generation Wii prototype.

Performance data of the Wii prototypes

Even for developers and journalists, no samples of the series devices were available until shortly before the start of sales. For example, the hardware that was shown at E³ in May 2006 was specially made for the trade fair. The developers who were already working on games for Wii had not received a final version of the so-called development kits in March 2006 either . These are developer systems that do not have to have any external resemblance to the final hardware, but already enable the development work for games for the new system and in some cases also allow debugging support and simplifications, such as the introduction of games via the network (since it would be too laborious to create an optical medium for each development version).

According to the US game portal IGN , the following generations of prototypes were delivered to the developers by Nintendo:

  • 1st generation: GameCube with wired Wiimote.
  • 2nd generation: Like 1st generation, with minor changes.
  • 3rd generation: Like 2nd generation, but with a faster CPU (around January 2006).
  • 3 1/2. Generation: Hardware almost in its final version, with wireless Wiimote.
  • 4th generation: Corresponds to the final version (also housing design).

IGN published the first information on the performance data of the processor and graphics chip in prototypes on March 29, 2006. Sources with access to preliminary versions of the hardware have taken the values ​​from the documentation or determined them using benchmarks.

  • Main processor: clock rate 729 MHz
  • Graphics processor: clock rate 243 MHz, contains the GPU, a DSP, the I / O bridge and texture memory.
  • Memory (RAM): 24 MB internal 1T-SRAM, 64 MB "external" 1T-SRAM

Wii U

On April 25, 2011, Nintendo confirmed that a successor, code-named Project Café, is in the works. It was first presented at the E3 Expo 2011 in Los Angeles . At E3 conference was announced by Nintendo, that the official name Wii U is. The announced console appeared at the end of 2012. The Wii U could not build on the success of its predecessor and only sold about 13 million times.


In a pilot project run by the Diakonisches Werk in Bavaria and the Erlangen University Hospital in 2010, the researchers examined the effects of the Wii on residents in old people's homes. It turned out that the regular use of the Wii promotes the cognitive and sensorimotor skills of residents of inpatient facilities for the elderly.

Web links

Commons : Wii  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Category: Wii  - in the news

Individual evidence

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