Only lasting half an hour, Nintendo‘s Pre-E3 2012 Conference highlighted a few bits about the company’s upcoming Wii U console. Before you continue reading, no, the name of the console has not changed. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what Nintendo did announce.
Already addressed in a rumor, Nintendo’s Wii U controller has been redesigned. Now dubbed the Wii U GamePad, the controller actually looks wider than the prototype shown off during Nintendo’s E3 2011 press conference. The biggest noticeable change is the replacement of the circle pads with actual control sticks. I like the Circle Pad on the Nintendo 3DS, but for extended play? I found it tough to use as time passed. This is why I’m glad the Wii U GamePad now has actual control sticks.
In addition, on the bottom left, you’ll see a tiny button. Dubbed the NFC Reader/Writer, this allows you to not only turn the Wii U on and off, but also use the Wii U GamePad without having to turn on the Wii U. It also allows the GamePad to be used as a standard remote controller for your television, equipped with channel and volume control.
While the Wii U will be backward compatible with any first-party controller for the original Wii, including the Balance Board, Nintendo is giving gamers another choice in terms of controllers. Dubbed the Wii U Pro controller, not much information has been revealed other than that it’s “comfortable to use.” Pretty vague description there, Ninty. Regardless, be on the lookout for the controller around the same time the Wii U launches.
However, let’s get to the meat of things. Say hello to the Wii U menu. It kind of looks weird, doesn’t it? All those Miis are not random. Those Miis include your Mii, Miis on your Wii U, your friends’ Miis and Miis in your country or region. This is the first thing you see when you power on your Wii U. All the Miis huddle around games they are playing at that very moment. For the most part, what you see on the TV is what you see on your Wii U GamePad.
In addition, “Miiverse” is almost like a social-interaction service native for the Wii U. You can access the Miiverse directly from the Home button without having to exit the game. Through the Miiverse, you can message your friends, as well as chat with them through the front-facing camera on the Wii U GamePad. Even when games for the Wii U aren’t designed for online interaction, you can still connect with others through the Miiverse. Miiverse will be available at launch for the Wii U, but Nintendo hopes to expand the service through its 3DS, as well as through any computer and internet-capable mobile devices.
Be on the lookout for theBitFix’s coverage of E3 2012, including Nintendo’s press conference. There better be a lot, and I mean a lot, of games.