2012-06-04

E3 2012 – Nintendo Unveils New Wii U Details

by Yo Snyder

Nintendo got E3 rolling a bit early this weekend with a Nintendo
Direct presentation that unveiled some new specifics about the Wii U
console. While a price wasnt mentioned (something that hopefully will
be apart of their official press conference this week), there were
certainly some interesting little tidbits in the presentation from
President Iwata. The whole theme of the presentation, and of Nintendos
upcoming E3 presentation, is unique. President Iwata also said that
the Wii U is designed to be a solution for the modern problem of being
together but not connected, i.e. having the family all the same room but
focusing on their own, various devices and gadgets. Well see if
Nintendo can deliver on either of those promises, but they certainly
have some, well, unique ideas (so I guess they already are
delivering).

First up the final version of the Wii U Game Pad (the official name) was unveiled. Unlike
the prototype, it now features actual gaming sticks instead of thumb
pads similar to the 3DS. There has been speculation that part of the
reason Nintendo did this was to meet the demands of developers who
wanted the added option of clickable sticks, which is like having two
more buttons. Well, theyre there. Also the placement of the d-pad and
the buttons have been moved inward toward the screen, and the back of
the controller has been given a more ergonomic design. And yes, it does
have an NFC reader which will allow you to put cards or figurines on the
controller to get items and more for in-game play. Also interesting,
the Wii U Game Pad can also function as your TV remote; that could prove
to be very convenient.

Wii U will support all of the Wiis previous controllers, and it will
also have a unique one of its own; the Wii U Pro controller. This looks
more like an Xbox 360 controller, and should satisfy core gamers who
want a more traditional controller for their games. I
wonder though; doesnt that option defeat the purpose of all the
unique things one can do with the Wii U Game Pad and its second
screen? If theres the option to play with a regular controller, what
sets this system apart from the others?

Sticking with the theme of unique, President Iwata then presented a
video that was certainly unique, but offered some intriguing glimpses
of the the Wii Us connectivity features. Looks like there will be a big
social networking aspect to the console, with a Facebook/Twitter type
option for posts and messages. Theres also the option of video chat
using the Wii U Game Pad; thats kind of cool. Certainly messaging using
the Wii U Game Pad will be easier as you can type on the screen, or use
the stylus to write messages by hand; I like that option as typing with
a controller on Xbox Live is slow and tedious. It was also mentioned
that youll be able to capture game content that you create and send it
to a friend to use their game. Now that has some very cool
possibilities. All
of this will function with a feature similar to Need for Speeds
Autolog; meaning that you can keep up with friends and what they
accomplish in games even when theyre not online at the same time as
you.

All of this connectivity happens through the Miiverse, which is the
first thing youll see when you power on the console. The Miiverse will
display all of your Miis, all of your friends Miis, and will also
display Miis around the world who are playing the same games as you.
Plus, although it wont be available at launch, the Miiverse will soon
expand to the Nintendo 3DS, as well as to PCs and mobile devices so you
can stay connected and updated to what everybodys doing any time, any
where.

Bonus: during the discussion about all of this, there are a few
screens of what may possibly be a new Mario game for the Wii U. Check it
out at about 22:30 in the video. 

Finally, there was a lot of discussion of how much you can do with
the Wii Us Game Pad screen separate from the TV; things like browsing
the Internet. Plus, when you find something you wan to show someone
else, you can send it to the TV screen. You can even use a curtain to
unveil your display with flourish. That seems a little silly, and I
doubt its something people will use a lot, but you have to admit it is
unique.

So, there are a lot of interesting possibilities with the Wii U.
Hopefully well get more solid details about all of this and much more
when Nintendo holds its press conference this week, but it was nice of
them to unveil a few things early for us. Oh, and it looks as though you
may even have the option to get the Wii U in black when it releases
this year. Take a look at the video yourself and then share what you
think of Nintendos Wii U thus far in the comments below.