LOS ANGELES — In a special pre-E3 stream, Nintendo President Saturo Iwata announced several highly sought after details on the company’s new console. Standing in a plain conference room, Iwata pointed out a hand drawn calligraphic phrase which when translated from Japanese stands for “creating something unique,” Nintendo’s motto.
Iwata unveiled the redesigned controller, which now features two fully functional analog sticks (rather than then nubs featured in the 3DS) with an extra button when clicked, such as on the PS3 and 360. The controller also benefits from a wider screen and a more ergonomic design. Nintendo also implemented an NFC reader/writer, that can read trading cards and figures for use in a game. Perhaps the most impressive new feature of the controller is the universal remote control feature that allows for instant control over your TV. Nintendo knows that this feature will allow for people who would normally never pick up a controller to be able to easily navigate their TV with the Wii U gamepad and eventually warm up to the idea of playing video games on it.
The controller retains the motion and gyroscopic sensors from the Wii and the console will support all previous Wii controllers.
With the Wii U, Iwata explains, the company sought to bring people together. In order to achieve this, Nintendo created what they call the “Miiverse,” a fully interconnected networking system for the Mii universe. When you boot up your system you will see a gathering of Mii’s, or “Mii Wara Wara,” which will cluster around certain symbols. These stand for games that people are playing, the more people playing a game, the more of a crowd that game attracts.
However, the most impressive feature announced is the implementation of instant messaging while playing your games. The Wii U gamepad lets the player send out messages to any of their friends at any time during gameplay. The controller can even be used as a type of webcam if the player wishes to switch to a standard conversation.
Furthermore, any important comments made about the game you are playing will be shown while playing the game, letting your friends help you defeat a tough boss if they got past it. This feature will eventually be expanded to any device with an internet connection, be it your computer, smart phone or tablet.
Iwata asked whether the “Wii U is just a simple evolution of the Wii or something different? It is both.” With Nintendo’s goal of bringing people together a focus for the new system, it will be very interesting to see how well developers implement the messaging feature of the Wii U. Tune in on Tuesday June 5th for our live blogging of the Nintendo press conference where, Iwata confirmed, they will focus on outlining the lineup of games for their new system.