Nintendo Direct Pre-E3 Show: Wii U Gamepad, Pro Controller and More
The big N gets the drop on the big event with their new shiny console.
Last night, Nintendo held a pre-E3 show entitled ‘Nintendo Direct’. During the conference, they began revealing elements of the Wii U console, including the final build of the controller, the debut of a more conventional gamepad and much more.
The conference begins with Nintendo president Saturo Iwata talking about creating something unique, hence the creation of the Wii U. He stresses that he wants you to think of the Wii U as ‘unique in a good way’, then goes on to explain how the official Nintendo E3 conference will be focusing on the games of the Wii U.
Saturo then goes on to to explain how the Wii U is designed to unite people, as he believes that we’re all becoming un-connected because of technology. This then leads him straight into explaining that the Wii U controller will now be known officially as the Wii U Gamepad, allowing us to finally not call it ‘that big Nintendo tablet thingy’.
The prototype from E3 last year has been revamped, removing the circle pads from last year and creating real raised analogue sticks. Naturally they rotate 360 degrees, and also have the ability to be pressed down similar to Xbox/PS3 controllers. The Wii U’s gamepad has also got a redesigned back, allowing for more comfortable usage. The mysterious button underneath the left stick is apparently a scanning device, allowing you to read cards and import them into your games. Nifty!
If you’re forever losing the remote for your TV, rejoice, as the Nintendo Wii U Gamepad is also a fully-functional TV remote! Even without the console on the Wii U Gamepad allows you to activate your Wii U and your television set, freeing up those wasted minutes searching for the remote. This is possible due to an integrated ‘TV’ button at the bottom of the device.
He then moves on to explaining how the dual-screen capability of the Wii U Gamepad and your TV allows for unique gaming experiences, and goes on to explain how the things presented on the Gamepad are usually diverse from that which is on the TV. It actually looks like quite the clever set-up, with the video showing someone using a conventional Wii controller with the Wii U Gamepad to create an illusion of realistic golf.
The gamepad’s screen is also a fully integrated touch-screen, either operatable by a stylus or by your fingers. During the presentation it shows a drawing of Link being created, with the results appearing in real-time on the TV as your draw. It really is quite cool to look at. The device also includes motion and gyro senses, for yet more in-depth motion control.
Saturo’s really churning out the info! He’s moving on now to talking about how the Wii U will be usable even when the TV is being used for something else, stressing that high-quality images can be shown on the Wii U’s gamepad in real time, and the Wii U will also be compatible with all older Wii controllers.
For those who don’t love the bulk of the Wii U contoller, Saturo also debuts the Wii U pro Controller, which looks very similar to an Xbox 360 controller. It’s designed for more intensive play where the Wii U Gamepad might not be an ideal solution.
We’re now moving in to a rather un-funny presentation of the Wii U’s online social connectivity, showcasing the Wii U’s capability to interact with other gamers easily by posting questions on a Wii U interactivity board. It also shows real-time calling of other gamers with integrated video chat, which shows Nintendo is really pushing the Wii U as an interactive social platform.
After the appallingly acted video is finished, Saturo returns in his drab boardroom and starts explaining how what we just saw at the video’s conclusion is the Wii U’s boot menu. He expresses how the menu shows everything your friends are up to, with people also being represented by Mii’s from around your home country. When the menu is loaded, the Wii U Gamepad will have a load of features on it to access your games, while your TV screen will showcase a more social experience. These are interchangeable. He then goes on to call the experience ‘Mii-Verse’, a place where Mii’s can ‘meet and connect’.
He also goes on to explain how the Mii Verse allows easy communication, allowing you to type text messages with ease, as well as write hand-written notes using a stylus. Interestingly, you also have the ability to post game screenshots, and also post other game elements. The Miiverse will interact with all Wii U games, while game developers can use Miiverse actually inside their games for extra interactivity. The Miiverse will later be usable outside of the home, available on 3DS, PC and any mobile device, but this won’t be available at launch.
The Wii U will also include a fully-integrated internet browser, which can be sent to the TV or used on the Gamepad. You simply swipe upwards from the gamepad to send it to the screen. You can also draw a curtain across stuff on the TV, allowing an element of surprise as you reveal your favourite porn video. Or funny clip. Whatever’s your pickle.
He then concludes the presentation by saying the Wii U is defined as ‘Together, better.’, putting an emphatic stamp on the social connectivity of this presentation.
Thoughts On the Wii U
Before this presentation, I was a little dubious about the Wii U. It all sounded very gimmicky and unnecessary, but I have to say the presentation has piqued my interest. The idea of holding a great interface in your hands while playing seems very appealing, and I have to say the inclusion of proper circle pads, a new controller and a great amount of easy social connectivity sounds like Nintendo has some good ideas floating around for their new console.
We’ll have to wait and see exactly what games are like on it this week at E3, where Matt and Eric will be bringing you the latest information from the show floor as it happens.
For now, let us know what you thought of Nintendo’s pre-show in the comments below!