Gamers 'alone together' no longer as Nintendo details Wii U GamePad
'Miiverse' Wii U community and Wii U Pro Controller also revealed in pre-E3 2012 video.
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Monday 04 June 2012
'Creating something unique' is the long-standing motto of Nintendo; with Wii U that’s exactly what the Japanese console manufacturer is looking to convince us they’ve done ahead of this week’s E3 show.
A new Nintendo Direct video has been released which reveals new information about the upcoming Wii U game console, including details about the system’s touch-screen controller dubbed the Wii U GamePad. In the video Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata illustrates how he hopes Wii U will revolutionise how people connect with games, each other and entertainment at home.
Wii U utilises your television and the Wii U GamePad as two integrated screens, creating unique possibilities for gaming via what Nintendo have termed ‘asymmetric’ gameplay.
Illustrated in the video by one player viewing a baseball game from the batter’s perspective via the TV, and a second player viewing the same moment, but from the pitcher’s perspective, via the Wii U GamePad, this new method of gameplay allows player’s to have different goals, challenges and views within the same shared gaming experience.
Iwata goes on to detail 'Miiverse', a brand-new network communication system that lets gamers from around the world share experiences, discuss games and discover new content. Using their personalized Mii character, players enter Miiverse and see games, applications or entertainment content that either they have interacted with recently, expressed interest in learning more about or that their friends are using or discussing.
From here they can challenge their friends to play together, ask a question about a difficult level or discover new elements of their favourite games they never knew existed via messages to the Miiverse community or video calls to Wii U-owning friends; the video even shows friends interacting via a Wii U mobile device app.
The Wii U GamePad has itself been reshaped from last year’s reveal to incorporate a more ergonomic design in order to aid prolonged gaming sessions. The new form offers players dual analogue stick controls, a touchscreen, video camera and ‘NFC Reader/Writer’ which allows specific models to be scanned in order to augment games (think along the lines of Activision's Skylanders toys).
In a nod to hardcore gamers – and almost certainly an admission by Nintendo that they need the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield on their new system – Nintendo have also announced the Wii U Pro Controller. A separate peripheral to be available at launch, the Wii U Pro is shaped almost exactly like the Xbox 360’s controller to attract both fans and developers of shooters and similarly intensive titles.
Wii owners will also be pleased to hear that their console’s controllers, and even Wii Fit balance board, will be compatible with Wii U, as will their existing Wii games.
Release date and pricing details are yet to be announced though we’re promised more information at Nintendo’s Tuesday conference – the same place all the new games will be announced and playable for a first time.
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