Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Friday, 17 November 2006

Factfile: The Wii

Games giant Nintendo hopes to take gaming in a new direction with its latest console, the Wii.

It launched in November 2006, it is pitched as the console that is "fun for all the family" and employs a new-style remote control.

Click on the links below to get a taste of the Wii.

Games disc readerInternal hardwareWii remoteNunchukSensor barSD memory card readerGamecube memory card readerUSB ports


The Wii console, initially available in glossy white, measures a slim 8.5in long, 6in wide and 2in thick (157x215.4x45mm), and can be displayed either vertically or horizontally.

It is powered by a PowerPC central processing unit and a graphics processing unit that has been developed with ATI. It has 512MB of internal flash memory.

Nintendo Wii: 249 euros (179)
PlayStation 3: 399 euros (299) for the 40GB version
Xbox 360: 370 euros (260) for the 120GB version, 270 euros (200) for the Premium system (20 GB hard drive) and 200 euros (160) for the Arcade system

The console has a built-in wi-fi capacity (or the internet can be accessed via a USB 2.0 LAN adaptor), and uses a system called WiiConnect24, which enables the system to communicate with the net even if the power is turned off, to receive updates or downloads.

Through wi-fi users can download "classic" games, surf the net and communicate with Nintendo's other console, the DS Lite, among other activities.


The Wii Remote, which resembles a TV remote control, allows users to play games through simple physical movements.

It can be used to jab like a sword, steer like driving a car, swoosh like a tennis racket. Nintendo hopes the change in gameplay will broaden the console's appeal.

The remote works through a three-axis accelerometer - a motion sensor - that can detect the angle it is being held at and how fast it is being used.

It connects wirelessly through Bluetooth to the console, via a sensor bar, up to a distance of 10m away. Up to four remotes can be used at any one time.

The remote also has a speaker, rumble feature and expansion port.


The Nunchuk can be connected with a cable to the remote control to allow two-handed play, to mimic activities such as boxing or using a sword and a shield. It also has a control stick.

Like the remote, it works through a three-axis accelerometer.

Classic controller: A classic non-remote controller (there is a special Wii design, or GameCube controllers can be used) can also be used with the Wii.


The sensor bar, which is connected via a cable to the back of the console, sits on top of or near a television set.

Through infra-red technology it communicates with the wireless controllers, sending the gameplay information back to the console.


The media-bay is self-loading and will play 12cm optical discs for the Wii console, and is also back-compatible with 8cm Nintendo GameCube discs.


The SD memory card will allow users to boost Wii's internal flash memory, to save more downloaded games, music, photos and videos.


The Wii is back-compatible with Nintendo's GameCube, and is able to play GameCube discs or read GameCube memory cards.


At the back of the console are two USB ports, for connecting to the internet if wi-fi is unavailable and for transferring information.

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