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Wii U US launch highlights some issues for early adopters

Nintendo has officially launched its next-generation Wii U console in the US, 11 days ahead of its planned UK launch, and initial feedback from early adopters is extremely mixed.

The Wii U builds on the company's motion-controlled Wii console with more powerful hardware, support for high-definition video output, and a novel tablet-syle controller with an integrated touch-screen panel. Demand for the console is high, with many chains across the US having sold out already following a midnight launch on Sunday - echoing the popularity of the Wii's launch in 2007, which saw the console become the must-have Christmas present of the year.

Those who have paid out for one of the first batches of Wii U consoles are reporting multiple issues, however, starting with a day-one patch to fix bugs and enable online multiplayer modes that requires a 5GB download - something that could take several hours on a slower internet connection.

Even with the patch installed, other issues are causing concern for buyers including poor graphics quality on launch titles including Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition, one of the console's flagship titles. Other issues include a very short battery life for the tablet-style touch-screen controller, with around three to five hours play time possible between charges, compatibility problems with selected HDMI video and audio equipment, and poor performance from the user interface and in-built browser.

Nintendo will be working hard to address these issues, of course, and has already confirmed plans to add new functionality in future updates including Nintendo TVii, a streaming video service which allows users to watch live or on-demand programming and control the system through the tablet-style touch-screen interface, in an update scheduled for December.

The Wii U is due to launch in the UK on the 30th of November, priced at £259.99.

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