|Also known as||Revolution (code name)|
|Type||Home video game console|
November 19, 2006
2006–2011 (original model)|
2011–2013 (Wii Family Edition)
2012–2017 (Wii Mini)
Wii (original model)
Wii Family Edition
|Units sold||Worldwide: 101.63 million (2016-03-31) (details)|
Physical and digital
|Operating system||Wii system software|
|CPU||729 MHz IBM PowerPC "Broadway"|
|Memory||88 MB (total), 24 MB MoSys 1T-SRAM, 324 MHz, 2.7 GB/s bandwidth|
|Storage||512 MB Internal flash memory|
GameCube Memory Card (first model only)
Video output formats
|Graphics||243 MHz ATI "Hollywood"|
|Controller input||Wii Remote (Plus), Wii Balance Board, Nintendo GameCube controller (first model only), Nintendo DS|
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g|
2 × USB 2.0
LAN Adapter (via USB 2.0)
|Online services||Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (closed May 20, 2014), WiiConnect24 (closed June 27, 2013), Wii Shop Channel (closing January 30, 2019)|
Wii Sports (pack-in, except in Japan and South Korea) 82.86 million (2018-09-30)|
Mario Kart Wii, 37.14 million (2018-09-30)
|GameCube (first model only)|
The Wii (known unofficially as the Nintendo Wii) is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii competed 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 the first quarter of 2016, the Wii led its generation over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales, with more than 101 million units sold; in December 2009, the console broke the sales record for a single month in the United States.
The Wii introduced the Wii Remote controller, which can be used as a handheld pointing device and which detects movement in three dimensions. Another feature of the console is the now defunct WiiConnect24, which enabled Wii to receive messages and updates over the Internet while in standby mode. Like other seventh-generation consoles, it features a game download service, called "Virtual Console", which features emulated games from past Nintendo consoles.
It succeeded the GameCube, and early models are fully backward-compatible with all GameCube games and most accessories. Nintendo first spoke of the console at the E3 2004 press conference and later unveiled it at E3 2005. 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 the four key markets.
In late 2011, Nintendo released a reconfigured model, the "Wii Family Edition", which lacks Nintendo GameCube compatibility; this model was not released in Japan. The Wii Mini, Nintendo's first major console redesign since the compact SNES, succeeded the standard Wii model and was released first in Canada on December 7, 2012. The Wii Mini can only play Wii optical discs, as it omits GameCube compatibility and all networking capabilities; this model was not released in Japan, Australia, or New Zealand. The Wii's successor, the Wii U, was released on November 18, 2012. On October 20, 2013, Nintendo confirmed it had discontinued production of the Wii in Japan and Europe.
The Wii was Nintendo's smallest home console at the time (the current smallest is hybrid home-portable console Nintendo Switch, when in portable mode); it measures 44 mm (1.73 in) wide, 157 mm (6.18 in) tall and 215.4 mm (8.48 in) deep in its vertical orientation, slightly larger than three DVD cases stacked together. The included stand measures 55.4 mm (2.18 in) wide, 44 mm (1.73 in) tall and 225.6 mm (8.88 in) deep. The system weighs 1.2 kg (2.7 lb), making it the lightest of the three major seventh-generation consoles. The Wii may stand horizontally or vertically. The prefix for the numbering scheme of the system and its parts and accessories is "RVL-" for its code name, "Revolution".
The front of the console features an illuminated slot-loading optical media drive which accepts only 12 cm Wii Optical Discs and 8 cm Nintendo GameCube Game Discs. (Units sold in South Korea and later revisions do not support GameCube discs.) The blue light in the disc slot illuminates briefly when the console is turned on, and pulses when new data is received through WiiConnect24. After the update (including System Menu 3.0), the disc-slot light activates whenever a Wii disc is inserted or ejected. When there is no WiiConnect24 information, the light stays off. The disc-slot light remains off during game play or when using other features. Two USB ports are located on the back of the console. An SD-card slot is located behind the SD-card slot cover on the front of the console, where an SD-card can be inserted.
The Wii launch package includes the console; a stand to allow the console to be placed vertically; a round, clear stabilizer for the main stand; a Wii Remote; a Nunchuk attachment; a Sensor Bar; a removable stand for the bar; an external power adapter; two AA batteries; a composite AV cable with RCA connectors; a SCART adapter in European countries (component video and other types of cables are available separately); operation documentation and (in Europe and the Americas) a copy of the game Wii Sports.
The disc reader of the Wii does not play DVD-Video, DVD-Audio or Compact Discs. A 2006 announcement stated that a new version of the Wii (capable of DVD-Video playback) would be released in 2007; however, Nintendo delayed its release to focus on meeting demand for the original console. Nintendo's initial announcement stated that it "requires more than a firmware upgrade" to implement, and the capability could not be made available as an upgrade option for the existing Wii; the delay later became a cancellation when production of the Wii was discontinued in 2013. However, despite the assertion, third parties have used Wii homebrew to add DVD playback to unmodified Wii units. The Wii also can be hacked to enable an owner to use the console for activities unintended by the manufacturer. Several brands of modchips are available for the Wii.
Although Nintendo showed the console and the Wii Remote in white, black, silver, lime-green and red before it was released, it was only available in white for its first two-and-a-half years of sales. Black consoles were available in Japan in August 2009, in Europe in November 2009 and in North America on May 9, 2010. A red Wii system bundle was available in Japan on November 11, 2010, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. The European version of the limited-edition red Wii bundle was released on October 29, 2010, which includes the original Donkey Kong game preloaded onto the console, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii Sports. The bundle also features the Wii Remote Plus, with integrated Wii Motion Plus technology. The red Wii bundle was released in North America on November 7, 2010 with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Sports and the Wii Remote Plus.
On July 11, 2007, Nintendo unveiled the Wii Balance Board at E3 2007 with Wii Fit. It is a wireless balance board accessory for the Wii, with multiple pressure sensors used to measure the user's center of balance. Namco Bandai produced a mat controller (a simpler, less-sophisticated competitor to the balance board).
The Wii Remote is the primary controller for the console. It uses a combination of built-in accelerometers and infrared detection to sense its position in 3D space when pointed at the LEDs in the Sensor Bar. This design allows users to control the game with physical gestures as well as button-presses. The controller connects to the console using Bluetooth with an approximate 30 ft (9.1 m) range, and features rumble and an internal speaker. An attachable wrist strap can be used to prevent the player from unintentionally dropping (or throwing) the Wii Remote. Nintendo has since offered a stronger strap and the Wii Remote Jacket to provide extra grip and protection.
Accessories can be connected to a Wii Remote through a proprietary port at the base of the controller, such as the bundled Nunchuk — a handheld unit with an accelerometer, analog stick, and two trigger buttons.An expansion accessory known as Wii MotionPlus augments the Wii Remote's existing sensors with gyroscopes to allow for finer motion detection; the MotionPlus functionality was later incorporated into a revision of the controller known as Wii Remote Plus. At E3 2009, Nintendo also presented a "Vitality Sensor" accessory that could be used to measure a player's pulse. In a 2013 Q&A, Satoru Iwata revealed that the Vitality Sensor had been shelved, as internal testing found that the device did not work with all users, and its use cases were too narrow.
The Classic Controller is another extension for Wii Remote, it is more similar to classic gamepads, you can play with it also older games from GameCube or Virtual Console.
The Wii console contains 512 megabytes of internal non-removable flash memory, and features an SD card slot for external storage. An SD card can be used for uploading photos and backing up saved game data and downloaded Virtual Console and WiiWare games. To use the SD slot for transferring game saves, an update must be installed. Installation may be initiated from the Wii options menu through an Internet connection, or by inserting a game disc containing the update. Virtual Console data cannot be restored to any system except the unit of origin. An SD card can also be used to create customized in-game music from stored MP3 files (as first shown in Excite Truck) and music for the slide-show feature of the Photo Channel. Version 1.1 of the Photo Channel removed MP3 playback in favor of AAC support.
At the Nintendo Fall Press Conference in October 2008, Satoru Iwata announced that Wii owners would have the option to download WiiWare and Virtual Console content directly onto an SD card. The option would offer an alternative to "address the console's insufficient memory storage". The announcement stated that it would be available in Japan in spring 2009; Nintendo made the update available on March 25. In addition to the previously announced feature, the update also allows users to play games directly from an SD card. The update also added support for SDHC cards with up to 32 GB of storage.
Nintendo has released few technical details regarding the Wii system, but some key facts have leaked through the press. Although none of these reports has been officially confirmed, they generally indicate that the console is an extension (or advancement) of the Nintendo GameCube architecture. Specifically, the analyses report that the Wii is roughly 1.5 to 2 times as powerful as its predecessor. Based on specifications, the Wii has been called the least powerful of the major home consoles of 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
- 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 and Internet channels (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)
Built-in content ratings systems:
- 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), standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
- Main: Stereo – Dolby Pro Logic II-capable
- Controller: Built-in speaker
- Audio DSP
The first Wii system software update (via WiiConnect24) caused a small number of launch units to become completely unusable. This forced users to either send their units to Nintendo for repairs (if they wished to retain their saved data) or exchange them for free replacements.
With the release of dual-layer Wii Optical Discs, Nintendo of America stated that some Wii systems may have difficulty reading the high-density software (due to a contaminated laser lens). Nintendo offers retail lens-cleaning kits and free console repairs for owners who experience this issue.
The Wii Remote can lose track of the Wii system it has been set to, requiring that it be reset and resynchronized. Nintendo's support website provides instructions for this process and troubleshooting related issues.
The console has a number of internal features made available from its hardware and firmware components. The hardware allows for extendability (via expansion ports), while the firmware (and some software) can receive periodic updates via the WiiConnect24 service.
The Wii Menu interface is designed to emulate television channels. Separate channels are graphically displayed in a grid, and are navigated using the pointer capability of the Wii Remote. Except for the Disc Channel, it is possible to change the arrangement by holding down the A and B buttons to "grab" channels and move them around. There are six primary channels: the Disc Channel, Mii Channel, Photo Channel, Wii Shop Channel, Forecast Channel and News Channel. The latter two were initially unavailable at launch, but were later activated in updates. The Wii + Internet Video Channel was pre-installed on all Wii consoles starting in October 2008. Additional channels are available for download from the Wii Shop Channel through WiiWare, and appear with each Virtual Console title; these include the Everybody Votes Channel, Internet Channel, Check Mii Out Channel and the Nintendo Channel.
Wii consoles with the original design are backward-compatible with all Nintendo GameCube software, Nintendo GameCube Memory Cards and controllers. Software compatibility is achieved by the slot-loading drive's ability to accept Nintendo GameCube Game Discs. However, redesigned "Family Edition" Wiis and the Wii Mini are not backward-compatible.
A Wii console running a GameCube disc is restricted to GameCube functionality, and a GameCube controller is required to play GameCube titles. A Nintendo GameCube Memory Card is also necessary to save game progress and content, since the Wii internal flash memory will not save GameCube games. Also, backward compatibility is limited in some areas. For example, online and LAN-enabled features for Nintendo GameCube titles are unavailable on the Wii, since the console lacks serial ports for the Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter and Modem Adapter.
Nintendo DS connectivity
The Wii system supports wireless connectivity with the Nintendo DS without any additional accessories. This connectivity allows the player to use the Nintendo DS microphone and touchscreen as inputs for Wii games. The first game utilizing Nintendo DS-Wii connectivity is Pokémon Battle Revolution. Players with either the Pokémon Diamond or Pearl Nintendo DS games are able to play battles using the Nintendo DS as a controller. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, released on both Nintendo DS and Wii, features connectivity in which both games can advance simultaneously. Nintendo later released the Nintendo Channel, which allows Wii owners to download game demos or additional data to their Nintendo DS in a process similar to that of a DS Download Station. The console is also able to expand Nintendo DS games.
The Wii console connects to the Internet through its built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi or through a USB-to-Ethernet adapter; either method allows players to access the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. The service has several features for the console, including Virtual Console, WiiConnect24, the Internet Channel, the Forecast Channel, the Everybody Votes Channel, the News Channel and the Check Mii Out Channel. The Wii can also communicate (and connect) with other Wii systems through a self-generated wireless LAN, enabling local wireless multi-playing on different television sets. Battalion Wars 2 first demonstrated this feature for non-split screen multi-playing between two (or more) televisions.
On April 9, 2008, the BBC announced that its online BBC iPlayer would be available on the Wii via the Internet Channel browser; however, some users experienced difficulty with the service. On November 18, 2009, BBC iPlayer on the Wii was launched as the BBC iPlayer Channel, a free downloadable channel from the Wii Shop Channel; however, the service was discontinued in early 2017.
Netflix was released as a downloadable channel for the Wii on October 18, 2010 in Canada and the United States. A survey conducted by Nielson revealed that 25% of Netflix subscribers used the Netflix Channel on the Wii as of July 2011.
Hulu announced in October 2011 that they would be releasing their streaming service, Hulu Plus, on the Wii and the Nintendo 3DS. Hulu Plus was released on February 16, 2012 as a downloadable channel for the Wii.
YouTube was released as a downloadable channel for the Wii on December 15, 2012 in the United States. The YouTube Channel for the Wii was discontinued on June 28, 2017 as part of YouTube's plan to phase out availability on older devices.
In 2018, Netflix announced that Nintendo would shut down support for video streaming services on the Wii on January 30, 2019, including Netflix.
The console features parental controls, which can be used to prohibit younger users from playing games with content unsuitable for their age level. When one attempts to play a Wii or Virtual Console game, it reads the content rating encoded in the game data; if this rating is greater than the system's set age level, the game will not load without a password. Parental controls may also restrict Internet access, which blocks the Internet Channel and system-update features. Since the console is restricted to Nintendo GameCube functionality when playing Nintendo GameCube Game Discs, GameCube software is unaffected by Wii parental-control settings.
European units primarily use the PEGI rating system, while North American units use the ESRB rating system. The Wii supports the rating systems of many countries, including CERO in Japan, the USK in Germany, the PEGI and BBFC in the United Kingdom, the ACB in Australia and the OFLC in New Zealand. Homebrew developers have reverse-engineered the function which Nintendo uses to recover lost parental-control passwords, creating a simple script to obtain parental-control reset codes.