A Comparison of the Wii to the WiiU

Some of you may recall that I wrote up a huge guide on which of the 3 Wii models you should buy. I didn’t think of this back then, but really, this guide you’re about to read should be followed first, then that guide. The reason why is you have to first narrow down if you want a Wii or Wii U, and then if you want a Wii, choose the model you want.

So the Wii and Wii U are actually about as similar as the name would suggest, but there are a few key differences. So which should you buy? I thought I’d make a guide to briefly address that.

The model you should buy really depends on what you’re looking for. I’ve split up this guide into various categories that compare the Wii and Wii U when it comes to that category. Pick the category or categories that you’re interested in, and read those, and use that to make a decision.

Pure power

The Wii and Wii U are both PowerPC based, but the Wii U is more powerful than the Wii. So if you’re looking for more raw power to put towards emulators and other things, the Wii U is the way to go.

Game library

The Wii U is fully backwards compatible with Wii games through the vWii mode, but it doesn’t work the other way around. The Wii is not forwards compatible with the Wii U.

This means that if you get a Wii U, you will have access to not only the Wii U game library, but also the Wii game library. And to top it all off, if you homebrew your vWii, you can even play GameCube games! That’s 3 (and more if you include Virtual Console and Emulators) consoles worth of games!

Control scheme

As we know, the Wii’s main controller is the Wii remote. In comparison, the Wii U’s main controller is the Wii U Gamepad. The gamepad doesn’t really utilize motion controls, so it probably won’t be as intuitive as using a Wii remote. However, a large amount of Wii U titles, as well as the Wii U itself, still take advantage of Wii remotes in some way, so there’s still some intuitiveness left.

Video output

The Wii U is by far the superior option for video quality. Not only does it have an HDMI port, it outputs in 1080p. It even upscales Wii content to 1080p, and does a pretty nice job of it. In comparison, the most the Wii can do is 480p, and it’s not even a good 480p unless you invest in the WiiDual.

Modding

You didn’t think I’d skip this, did you? This is a modding subreddit, after all.

Both the Wii and Wii U are both capable of being softmodded. In my mind, softmodding the Wii is superior mainly because the only permanent Wii U softmod requires spending money on a DS virtual console game, whereas the Wii has plenty of permanent softmod options that are free. Do note that the vWii (virtual Wii) mode on the Wii U can be softmodded for free.

The Wii U homebrew scene is pretty good, but one could argue that the Wii’s scene is just as good if not better.

vWii is more limited compared to a normal Wii, so it’s probably not the most ideal for Wii modding.

Form factor

The Wii and Wii U both have similar sizes, if space is an issue for you. However, the Wii U is quite a bit longer than the Wii, so if you don’t have space for the length, I’d stick to a Wii.

Color

The Wii U can only be bought in white or black, and the white version only has 8GB of onboard storage, while the black one has 32GB. The Wii can be purchased in white, black, red, or blue, and they are all mostly the same.

If you’re looking to get a Wii or Wii U, I hope this helps you!