Satoru Iwata details Wii U concept, Miiverse
posted on 06.03.12 at 06:44 PM EDT by (@salromano)
Wii U controller named, social network introduced.

Nintendo global president Satoru Iwata detailed the concept of the Wii U during a Nintendo Direct broadcast tonight.

The console’s touchscreen controller, previously without a name, has been confirmed to be called the Wii U Gamepad. The name comes from the Nintendo Entertainment System controller, which was called a Gamepad due to its flat shape. The controller’s rumored redesigns were also confirmed. It no longer uses circle pads for joysticks, but instead actual joysticks that stick out of the controller. In additon to 360 degree control, the joysticks can also be pushed in, allowing for further functionality. The back has also been redesigned to provide a better grasp.

All forms of Wii controllers, as well as the Wii Fit balance board, are compatible with Wii U. A Wii U Pro controller will be released for ‘more intense’ forms of gaming, such as longer periods of play or for multiplatform games. Also, you will be able to use your Wii U Gamepad to control the television using the controller’s “TV” button.

Iwata says that the system’s two screens (the TV and the controller) are more dynamic than that of the the DS, as they’re not fixed.

A video was played showing off the system’s network capabilities – the Miiverse. It featured a frustrated gamer struggling to take down a zombie boss. To get help, he first posted a message (and his mood) on the network asking for help, leading to a call from his friend who saw the message from his cell phone. After his help was ineffective, he video-chatted his grandfather for assistance, who was able to solve his problem. A Black Wii U console and controller were used during the clip.

You’ll see the Miiverse each time your start up your Wii U. It is a screen filled with the Miis on your system, your friends’ Miis, and other Miis playing the same games. You will be able to access the Miiverse at any time, even in-game, without the need to terminate your game session. It will allow you to communicate with other players through both typing and hand-writing. Developers can also add Miiverse integration into their games. Have a look at how it’s done in this Mario game:

Miiverse does not require the use of your TV screen. In fact, Nintendo considers the Wii U Gamepad a players’ social window, linking player to player, living room to living room. Miiverse will eventually be available from Nintendo 3DS, PC, or any mobile device. The social elements of Miiverse are being designed for Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and future Nintendo devices.

Nintendo also briefly showed off the system’s browser, which allows you to surf internet content on your Wii U Gamepad, and send certain elements to the television. A video for example, can be found first on the controller, and then sent to the TV for all to see. You can even add effects like a curtain pullback.

So what’s left for the system’s E3 media briefing? “During that event, we will be focusing almost entirely on games for Wii U,” said Iwata.

  • rockman29

    I was impressed. I look forward to their E3 presentation.

    I expected this level of connectivity from the seventh generation of consoles, but we definitely did not get it, and I absolutely am not paying for it.

    MiiVerse looks good, and I think Nintendo is launching it at the right time. I think it would have be inappropriate and premature on the Wii.

    Their browser looked a hell of a lot more functional and clean than the PS3 browser too, but I’ll wait to judge that some more. No excuses for crappy browsers in the age of Internet *insert version number here*

    Looking good, Iwata.

  • Hinano

    This is all really cool.

    I love the ease of connectivity in all this. It’s the best of iPhone, 360, and PS3 put together it seems.

    In Iwata I trust.

  • 浪黒雷 (ロークロライ)

    Kudos@Gematsu for wrapping up and compiling all the information that quick!

    The stick redesign (+ click) was probably pitched by 3rd parties to ensure a uniform controller layout for all three systems.

    I have, however, concerns regarding the position of the right thumb stick.

    Options are always great but the Pro Controller implies WiiU’s unique controller screen features will be disabled with the ProCon. The stick configuration is terrible, if I may say so. Placing the face buttons below the right stick might not have been a smart decision, as I can’t imagine playing like that. Switching between PS3 and WiiU is gonna be a major pain.

    Heck, I even get confused when I visit my friend, as his PS3 is an international model while I own a Japanese one (functions of X and O switched around). Remembering to reach down with the thumb might be confusing. Besides, I don’t think it will be comfortable to play with sticks positioned that high on a controller.

    Here’s hoping to a re-design of the stick config down the line.

  • Zero

    I’m glad they plan to focus on games during the e3 briefing. They still need to come out and explain it better to average consumers.

    I think gamers understand it (Wii U) for the most part, but the average consumer or casual gamer could easily be confused, and it would be understandable.

    Good to see Nintendo jumping head first into online functionality.

    I guess my dream for a new console name is dead? :(

    I still think keeping all of this Wii terminology is just going to confuse people.

  • RyoonZ

    I like the controller design and Pro Controller looks more hardcore.
    Will use the gamepad for multimedia stuff like drawing, reading,etc.

    Miiverse is something I worried about. I hope they don’t use this stupid idea I think of like you had to ask your friend in your Miilist to help you unlock something to move on, you know like the annoying facebook game request.

    Oh and Pro Controller is a good thing you can throw them out of frustration playing game like Demon’s Soul lol. You can’t throw the Game Pad because I’d think that one will cost a lot.