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We just published our review of the Wii U, but we didn't crack the console open to peer under the hood. iFixit did, though, and it has published a look at its usual stellar job of disassembling the console down to its component pieces and explaining what they do.

The most interesting part of the teardown, frankly, is the look inside the Wii U's GamePad. The controller is essentially its own console packed with components. In addition to a gyroscope and a touchscreen, the controller also houses an NFC module and antenna, though its functionality doesn't appear to be used by any of the launch titles. iFixit speculates that NFC could be used in the future to facilitate saved-game and character loading.

Enlarge / Inside the Wii U GamePad.

The Wii U itself sports a trio of wireless modules, including a Broadcom Bluetooth chip. One of the modules is used exclusively to communicate with the GamePad, enabling the smooth and lag-free screen mirroring observed by our gaming editor Kyle Orland. The teardown also exposes the system's AMD Radeon GPU and IBM Power-based multicore processor, both of which are marked improvements over the older Wii's downright anemic CPU and GPU.

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The rise of purely digital online game sales has changed the industry in a number of ways, but the most important change might be the introduction of games as impulse buys. Anyone with a credit card tied to their Steam account knows how scarily easy it is to, with just a few clicks, dump more money than you intended on a whole passel of games that seem vaguely intriguing. You might not have read any reviews, or even heard anything about the game outside of the Steam description, but when it's so cheap and the purchase process is so seamless, your consumptive id can often act before your conscious brain even has a chance to question whether you really want the game you're buying.

Digital stores on platforms from Sony, Microsoft, Apple, and Google have similar setups to encourage this kind of impulse purchase—enter your credit card once, then buy with a few clicks forevermore. Nintendo is the lone holdout, as it often is with online features, refusing to store credit card information for users with a Wii or 3DS. But that might change in the next console generation, with Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announcing today that the Wii U will use near-field communication technology "as a means of making micropayments."

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