At 11pm last night, Satoru Iwata kicked off Nintendo’s E3 offerings with a pre-E3 Nintendo Direct address, in which he revealed a few things about the upcoming Wii U.
The presentation revealed very little about any upcoming software, or the actual console itself. All of this will be coming in the Nintendo keynote address at E3 very soon, which will be concentrating almost exclusively on the new console. However, what was revealed was more details about the tablet controller, which has been named the Wii U Game Pad, other controller options, including the Wii U Pro Controller, and most importantly, the online community features.
Let’s face it, the lack of a proper online community is one aspect that has held the Wii console back from being able to compete with the likes of the Xbox360 and PS3 (I did say one thing). Well, it looks like Nintendo are going to remedy that in the upcoming Wii U with extended network capabilities such as video calling and the impressive Miiverse.
The Miiverse, or Mii Universe, seems to be an upgraded version of the Mii Plaza from the Wii. Miis from all over the world will gather on your screen, leaving messages and “loitering” around the games that the Mii owners are playing. They will be able to leave messages not just on the Miiverse screen, which will act as the Wii U mainscreen, but also on notice boards and even within certain games. Most exciting though is the fact that after launch the Miiverse will become available on the 3DS, PC and even mobile devices, ensuring that players will be able to connect with their friends anywhere.
The Wii U Game Pad, the tablet controller device that was revealed last year, has now been confirmed to have two analog thumbsticks, which will both be clickable, increasing the number of inputs. They have also improved the layout to make the controller more comfortable. The controller will have a TV Remote button which will allow for complete control of the TV as well as the console. Finally, there was the NFC reader, which will allow data to be read from certain cards or figures.
Saturo Iwata confirmed that the Wiimote, Nunchuk and Balance Board will all be compatible with the device. He then also revealed that a more traditional controller, in the form of the Wii U Pro Controller, will be made available multiplatform titles, or longer, more intense game forms.
There were a few other nuggets of information in the address, which you can check out for yourself in the video below. But otherwise, Nintendo are off to a good start for E3 2012. I can’t wait to see what else they bring to the table.