Tech Spec: The Wii U’s remote control-ler

One device is now capable to control almost everything. Photo by Courtland Jeffrey.

While Microsoft and Sony decided to stick with their already released consoles, Nintendo decided to release a new system, the Wii U.

Nintendo’s previous gaming console, the Wii, was designed to get the entire family involved in the game with their unique remotes. Since the Wii was such a success, Nintendo took the opportunity to create a new, improved system and controller that has much stronger capabilities. One of the features receiving the most hype is the fact that the Wii U’s GamePad is designed to be a universal remote control for your television.

Is this the next step in home entertainment, a single device to control them all?

There have plenty of universal remotes over the years, from the cheap Homer Simpson-themed remotes to the powerful series of Logitech Harmony remotes, but even with those, you still need the game controller.

Wii U makes it so the consumer picks up one device when they sit down in their living room and is set to control everything they need. Plus, with their sales reaching 400,000 units in the first week, it seems that this ultimate universal remote could become a trend in households. While the console has been a hit in this first week’s release, the television functionality probably is not their top reason for the purchase.

People usually go out to buy gaming systems for the games, not the bells and whistles that come with it. That being said, this TVii feature seems like (if Nintendo took its time to perfect the software) it could become that feature that accidentally catches on and becomes the next high-demand option in devices.

This problem of having too many remotes has been a nuisance for some time, but if a device, which is already sitting on the coffee table, knocks out the necessity for most other remotes, then it could spread like wildfire. Sadly, it only seems to control television and cable box features, not DVD or Blu-Ray players (I could be wrong on this one, as I have not yet had a chance to experience the full software yet).

Since the time has come and passed for competitors to release new devices to meet the holiday season, it looks like Nintendo will have some time with a monopoly on this niche of the market. If consumers do fall head-over-heels for the TVii feature of the Wii U, expect to see the competitors quickly play catch up to find a spot.

But until reactions come in on the console, many wait (including myself) to see if truly universal remotes could actually become a norm.

 

If you have any comments or questions, message me on Twitter @Court_Jeffrey or via email at cejeffre@asu.edu. Enjoy!