E3 is early! Nintendo’s press conference isn’t until June 5th, but they published a video today which provided some details on their upcoming Wii U.The full 30 minute video presentation can be seen here. This is a summary:
Wii U Controller (GamePad) Updates
- Now called “GamePad” – leaked photo was legit
- Circle pads replaced with clickable sticks
- Button/stick layout and back of the controller have been modified
- NFC Reader/Writer for reading from and writing to NFC supported objects
- TV Control button – GamePad can be used as a TV IR remote with OSD – kinda puts a new meaning on “Wii-mote” 😛
- GamePad web browser confirmed
- Video Chat confirmed, but probably have to quit the game
- Wireless range of GamePad described as “anywhere in your living room”
- Wii U will support existing Wii controllers: Wii Remotes, Nunchucks, Balance Board
- Wii U Pro Controller will also be available – looks very 360ish
Wii U Home Screen(s)
- There are 2 home screens: one for the TV and one for the GamePad. The first is your default selection of games and applications. The second is the Miiverse. The screens are swappable between the TV and GamePad.
The social networking aspect built into the Wii U framework.
- Miis gather around game icons. You may or may not have these games – digital content promoted right on the home screen
- The Miis are from your console, your friends’, and other Miis playing the same games.
- Messages posted by Miis appear to be categorized by game, as if every game has at least one public forum.
- Games appear to be able to prompt the player at points, (player dies and can ask others for help), so perhaps any number of these forums can be associated with any one game, at different points.
- Messages can include hand writing and doodles, as well as emoticons (crazy, I know).
- Allows posting screenshots of gameplay. Where or how exactly wasn’t shown.
- Allows transmission of user-generated content.
- Doesn’t require big screen, GamePad screen considered “social window.”
- Games can take advantage of Miiverse, but even if they don’t, people can still “connect” through it. Discussion can happen outside of game, possibly allowing discussion around Wii games, for example.
- Post-launch, Miiverse will be available from 3DS, PC, and any web-based device.
Possible games teased (to convey concepts)
- Zombie Shooter
- 2D Mario – analyzed by GameXplain
Significant things not mentioned
- (Cross-game) Voice Chat. Cross-game text messaging was confirmed, and Video Chat was confirmed, but in the demo video it looked like the player had to quit the game to access video chat. Obviously, if video chat is available, voice chat is available, but whether or not you have to quit your game hasn’t been clarified.
- Friend Codes. It appears as though Nintendo is (finally!) being much more open to online interactions. Let’s hope that means adding friends is at least as easy as on other platforms.
- Multiple Game Pads. Are multiple game pads on one console possible? We don’t know yet.
Looking forward to the rest of the show, but especially more details on Wii U.