Excuse the boring title and the potentially bad piece of prose bundled with it. I blame the fact it's late, I haven't written for ages and it’s a Friday.
We've all known for a while that the Wii U, due out on the 18th of this month, is going to come with web surfing capabilities, but until a few hours ago details of the browser were kept under lock and key. Well my adoring Nintendo fans, wait no longer, for as long as you have an internet connection plunging yourself into the World Wide Web will be no problem with the aid of our good friend NetFront NX! Oh Netty, how you’ll make our Wii U internet browsing experience a one to remember.
If, like me, you’re less than techno-savvy and find yourself living life on the wild side by using Chrome with Adblock Plus installed you probably haven’t heard of NetFront NX. According to my faithful companion Google it’s apparently from the same company who allow quite a few TVs, smart phones and consoles such as the 3DS surf the net. So far so good, yes?
Well, maybe not. If you enjoy using the internet for its fundamental purpose of wasting time on Flash games then you’re in for some sordid disappointment. NetFront NX will not support Flash. It’s a problem most of us have gotten used to with smart phones and the sorts but it can always find ways to bug us.
That minor niggle aside, the browser is otherwise set to be quite good. Its prospective HTML5 support is going to dwarf that of every other console on the market, coming close to the standard of desktop browsers in 2011. Makes you wonder how Sony’s next gen console’s browser will perform (cause let’s face it, Microsoft will slap IE on theirs and we know how that’ll go).
When we look at how the browser will be used there may be a slight sting of disappointment for some. A good thing is the Wii U will allow the user to view webpages from the GamePad whilst reserving the TV for something else. Unfortunately the GamePad lacks a lot of the touch screen functions that our phones and tablets do. This means easy zooming isn’t on the cards for Wii U-sers as it would be for those using a phone (see what I did there?).
Another slight problem is saving and uploading files, namely images, won’t be supported. Obviously the need to fetch out a .txt on the Wii wouldn’t be there, but for those Facebook fanatics and other such internet users a simple way to manage images might have been nice.
Overall, it’s looking like the browser is going to be good. It should certainly be better than those seen on current consoles. Sadly, in my eyes, the ubiquitous presence of handy dandy mobile phones to do our quick ‘n’ dirty internet bidding to what will be a higher standard than the Wii U is slightly detracting. At least it comes with something though; if someone wants to do real internet browsing they should use a computer anyway.