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E3 2012: Nintendo Pre-E3 conference

News; Jun. 4, 2012; Channels: Video Games; By Kyle James Hovanec
Subtypes: News
Nintendo's President Satoru Iwata reveals new details about the Wii U before E3

Nintendo decided to start the E3 party early by having a special pre-E3 conference narrated by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.

Nintendo

The 30-minute presentation did not reveal any new games or titles (those are being saved for E3) but rather a slew of new information regarding the Wii U console and some of its key features. These include:

  • A redesign for the tablet controller. Now officially called the Wii U GamePad, Nintendo revealed analog sticks that can be pushed down in place of the prototype’s nubs and a redesigned button layout that, according to Iwata, is reminiscent of the NES controller.
  • The GamePad also features an NFC reader that can communicate and read cards and figures (Skylanders?) when placed on the receiver.
  • The Wii U GamePad can also function as a TV remote.
  • The Wii U will be fully compatible with all previous Wii controllers. This includes the Wii remote, nunchuck, Wii Balance Board, and Wii classic controller. 
  • The Wii U will also feature a controller designed for more traditional or “hardcore” titles. This controller features four shoulder buttons, two analog sticks, a D-pad and four face buttons.

Iwata also revealed Nintendo’s new online community called Miiverse. Details included:

  • Miiverse will be similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PSN online services. 
  • The service will offer a forum feature for people to users and reply to specific topics regarding different games.
  • Miiverse will also feature different ways to stay connected and communicate with friends. One is through a Skype-like video conferencing feature, and another is through sharing screenshots and user-created content with other players.
  • Chatting is also possible through the Mii characters. Players can also keep track of their friends and their statuses through their mobile devices and, eventually, 3DS.
  • Miiverse will be similar to the Wii’s Mii Plaza with more interactivity. Players will now be able to chat, leave messages, and talk about specific games (whether they are online or not) with others. 
  • Miiverse will be available at Wii U’s launch and will be able to cross communicate with the Wii U, 3DS, PC, and mobile devices at a later date. 

With this latest video, it looks like Nintendo is ready to enter the world with its own online community. This opens up a new set of theories and speculations concerning how it will take advantage of this new system, and more specifically, how games will take advantage of it. Not only is Nintendo offering a new way to play games but also how to connect those games to other players and communities. While this concept may not be new (other consoles and PC titles have been doing it for years), it is a new one for Nintendo and one that will be the center of attention during this year's E3.

The full video is below.

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