The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes 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 April 2012, the Wii leads the generation over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales, and in December 2009 broke the record for best-selling console in a single month in the United States.
A distinguishing feature of the console is its wireless controller, the Wii Remote, which can be used as a handheld pointing device and detects movement in three dimensions. Another distinctive feature of the console is WiiConnect24, which enables it to receive messages and updates over the Internet while in standby mode.
The Wii is Nintendo’s fifth home console and the direct successor of the Nintendo GameCube, with most models being fully backwardly compatible with all GameCube games and most accessories. Nintendo first spoke of the console at the 2004 E3 press conference and later unveiled the system at the 2005 E3. 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 four key markets.
In late 2011, Nintendo released a reconfigured model known as the “Wii Family Edition” which removed Nintendo GameCube compatibility; this model was not released in Japan. The successor, the Wii U, is to be released in the fourth quarter of 2012.