Nintendo unveils more details of Wii U ahead of E3 showing
Monday, June 04, 2012 4:41 PM
Nintendo kicked off this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo this morning with a special video presentation from president Satoru Iawata, who released a few more details about its upcoming new console, the Wii U.
With many anticipating technical specs of the new hardware to dominate this year's show, Iawata explained in his direct presentation, which was launched on YouTube, that the Nintendo E3 show scheduled for Tuesday will focus almost entirely on software for the Wii U.
He used the video to show off some of the console's new features, including the finalised design for its innovative controller, the Wii U GamePad. Sporting all the buttons and analogue sticks of a conventional controller, it also features a large touchscreen in the centre and a front facing camera as well.
The core idea behind the console is that gamers will have two integrated screens – one on the controller and the other your television. In theory, this will lead to the opportunity for new gameplay possibilities such as asynchronous local multiplayer, as revealed in the various tech demos at last year's E3.
But the Japanese console maker is thinking bigger is time around and, with online services such as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network making the Wii's online offering feel quaint by comparison, Iawata explained that the hardware of the Wii U will be key to changing how people connect with one another when they're not in the same room.
At the heart of this is the newly unveiled 'MiiVerse', Nintendo's answer to social networking. Serving as the main hub of the Wii U's interface, the video game network will allow gamers to see what their friends are doing using the same Mii avatars that were so popular on the Wii.
Beyond this, there will be the opportunity to converse with friends by typing on the touchscreen or drawing picture messages. It will also be possible to take screenshots from games and share them, as well as video chatting.
It remains to be seen how Nintendo will ensure that the network remains a family-friendly atmosphere for its younger users - something that hasn't always been the case with Xbox Live or PSN. But according to Iawata, the ultimate aim is that: "Even with no-one else in the room, you won't feel alone."