Nintendo Unveils the Wii U, Leaves the World In a State of Bewilderment

Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

Say this for Nintendo: they're rarely predictable.

This morning's E3 2011 Nintendo press conference promised to unveil the console maker's next generation of hardware, and Nintendo did not disappoint. Instead, it mostly confused, bewildered, and at times, very much impressed.

Games will support unique displays via the screen when you're playing on the TV, or transfer gameplay directly to the screen.

Let's start with the name, which had been the subject of much bandying by various industry pundits. Everything from just "The Nintendo" to far more ludicrous options had been tossed around, but the near-universal agreement that the Wii branding would be ditched turned out to be a falsehood. The Wii U is the new system, and Reggie used the name unveiling to make a few alliterative talking points regarding "unity" and "utopia" among players.

The console is designed to cater to both the hardcore audience that Nintendo seemingly all but abandoned when the Wii was first introduced, and the casual-minded players who flocked to the Wii in its early days. But just what the hell is this thing, anyway?

Nearly all of the presentation was dedicated to the new controller technology, a slick-looking, tablet-inspired device with two circle sticks, a d-pad, the usual suite of buttons, a gyroscope, a built-in camera, and what have you. However, the big draw is the built-in screen, a 6.2 inch touch-sensitive screen that can emulate at least some version of the graphics you'll see on your TV screen.

Though the demo at the conference didn't do much to explain this, there is actually a Wii U box that hooks up to your TV, which works in proper HD. It's backward compatible with all existing Wii games, and apparently supports existing Wii hardware too.

This is the box. Yes, there is a box.

One of the more intriguing things about the new controller device is that it actually lets you keep playing your games if you decide to do something else with your TV. Whatever game you're playing via the TV will automatically switch to the controller screen should you decide to start watching something else on television.

Nintendo's big thing was to demonstrate the number of different uses for the tech, which included everything from video chat, to stylus drawing, and a variety of motion/video-based controls. However, this was done largely at the expense of new game announcements. Reggie himself only touted one new game in development--a new Lego title from TT Games--but a video featuring several third-party developers and publishers including a slate of game announcements, including Darksiders II, Assassin's Creed, a new Tekken game, Metro Last Light, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, and more. EA's John Riccitiello even vaguely described the "possibility" of a Battlefield game appearing on the system, as Battlefield 3 footage played behind him. However, he stopped short of an actual announcement.

Nintendo is not showing any full games at E3, but rather is sticking to "game demos," which sound more like tech demo-ish proofs of concept. Regardless, we'll definitely be getting our hands on this strange, fascinating new device during the show. Look for more in the near future.

Staff Online
#1 Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

Say this for Nintendo: they're rarely predictable.

This morning's E3 2011 Nintendo press conference promised to unveil the console maker's next generation of hardware, and Nintendo did not disappoint. Instead, it mostly confused, bewildered, and at times, very much impressed.

Games will support unique displays via the screen when you're playing on the TV, or transfer gameplay directly to the screen.

Let's start with the name, which had been the subject of much bandying by various industry pundits. Everything from just "The Nintendo" to far more ludicrous options had been tossed around, but the near-universal agreement that the Wii branding would be ditched turned out to be a falsehood. The Wii U is the new system, and Reggie used the name unveiling to make a few alliterative talking points regarding "unity" and "utopia" among players.

The console is designed to cater to both the hardcore audience that Nintendo seemingly all but abandoned when the Wii was first introduced, and the casual-minded players who flocked to the Wii in its early days. But just what the hell is this thing, anyway?

Nearly all of the presentation was dedicated to the new controller technology, a slick-looking, tablet-inspired device with two circle sticks, a d-pad, the usual suite of buttons, a gyroscope, a built-in camera, and what have you. However, the big draw is the built-in screen, a 6.2 inch touch-sensitive screen that can emulate at least some version of the graphics you'll see on your TV screen.

Though the demo at the conference didn't do much to explain this, there is actually a Wii U box that hooks up to your TV, which works in proper HD. It's backward compatible with all existing Wii games, and apparently supports existing Wii hardware too.

This is the box. Yes, there is a box.

One of the more intriguing things about the new controller device is that it actually lets you keep playing your games if you decide to do something else with your TV. Whatever game you're playing via the TV will automatically switch to the controller screen should you decide to start watching something else on television.

Nintendo's big thing was to demonstrate the number of different uses for the tech, which included everything from video chat, to stylus drawing, and a variety of motion/video-based controls. However, this was done largely at the expense of new game announcements. Reggie himself only touted one new game in development--a new Lego title from TT Games--but a video featuring several third-party developers and publishers including a slate of game announcements, including Darksiders II, Assassin's Creed, a new Tekken game, Metro Last Light, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, and more. EA's John Riccitiello even vaguely described the "possibility" of a Battlefield game appearing on the system, as Battlefield 3 footage played behind him. However, he stopped short of an actual announcement.

Nintendo is not showing any full games at E3, but rather is sticking to "game demos," which sound more like tech demo-ish proofs of concept. Regardless, we'll definitely be getting our hands on this strange, fascinating new device during the show. Look for more in the near future.

Staff Online
#2 Posted by lolgreg (244 posts) -

Oh lawd, Nintendo.

#3 Edited by Meltac (2001 posts) -

I still don't get it. 

#4 Posted by KarateLincoln (54 posts) -

Smash Bros. That is all.

#5 Posted by MisterMouse (3547 posts) -

Ok good to see the actually console hardware... still I don't know. Why didn't they talk about the actual specs of the console itself?

#6 Posted by ShaggE (6415 posts) -

Pirate freaking arrows.

#7 Posted by TheMustacheHero (6655 posts) -

This is going to be so uncomfortable to play.

#8 Posted by mscupcakes (612 posts) -

Just don't let anybody Wii on U

#9 Posted by Herocide (440 posts) -

GET HYPE

#11 Posted by Jack_Daniels (1413 posts) -

BAHAHAHAHA

#12 Posted by Rotnac (710 posts) -

oh man... Wii U? really? really?

#13 Posted by Kaspar (159 posts) -

Wiiew Wiiew is the sound police sirens make lol ^ ^

#14 Posted by 137 (481 posts) -

yeah this is going to be amazing.

#15 Edited by AlwaysBeClothing (1461 posts) -

Jeff posted a picture of someone playing New Super Mario Bros Mii, he was looking at the controller screen and ignoring the big screen tv. Mission accomplished?

Online
#16 Posted by morrelloman (608 posts) -

Word

#17 Posted by Catolf (2653 posts) -
@ShaggE said:
Pirate freaking arrows.
#18 Posted by zombie007 (102 posts) -

Name makes VITA sound great. What a dumb dumb name Nintendo.

Not convinced yet, controller looks like something out of a toy store called "my first tablet". Ultimately the games and price will make me decide if I get it, but I doubt this offers something compelling at launch.

#19 Posted by sopranosfan (1935 posts) -

Wii U is where I wish I would have went to college.
#20 Posted by DarthB (249 posts) -

Fuck. I know I'll probably buy this thing about 6 months to a year after launch, then proceed to never use it if it's supported like the wii is. Here's hoping it has great software support!

#21 Posted by MeatSim (10830 posts) -

They should have shown the actual console during the press conference.

#22 Posted by Sayishere (1840 posts) -

I still have no idea what to say

#23 Posted by Changgo (127 posts) -

Looks kinda like bleached PS Vita. Wonder if Sony could bake in similar features/support between their new handheld and the PS3?

#24 Posted by Troncek (254 posts) -

Hmm, what the...

#25 Posted by AuthenticM (3710 posts) -

Such a fucking horrible name. Oh my God.

#26 Posted by Kyle (2323 posts) -

Yeah, that headline pretty much says it all...

#27 Posted by bobtastic715 (72 posts) -
@pyromaster222: As Reggie said in an interview for G4 post-conference Nintendo isn't known for talking about specs and things of graphical nature they like to focus on the gameplay.
#28 Posted by metalsnakezero (2290 posts) -

Reggie said that Wii U will be 1080p so thats good and this how the Wii felt like, it need to prove it can do it. 

#29 Posted by dbz1995 (4790 posts) -

I thought the tablet thing itself was the actual console.

#30 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

Just when I had hopes that Nintendo would pull itself back from the brink, they offer this shit. Seriously, what the hell are they smoking over there?

#31 Posted by selbie (1884 posts) -

Saw the video stream on Nintendo's site. That Pirate demo is actually a rhythm game.

#32 Posted by DirtyEagles (274 posts) -

I think it's great

#33 Posted by mrfluke (5130 posts) -

one last time 4 good measure XD

#34 Posted by SlightConfuse (3963 posts) -

great article this will help with the confusion of the conference

#35 Posted by EmuLeader (558 posts) -

This controller screams Crystal Chonicles, and given the original was on a Nintendo system as well, i'm really hoping a new one comes out.

#36 Posted by MisterMouse (3547 posts) -
@bobtastic715: Makes you wonder if there is a greater reason they aren't talking about it.
#37 Posted by LordCmdrStryker (346 posts) -

I bet the Angry Birds tablet gamer crowd will just love this. Now I have to go eat some rusty nails.

#38 Posted by Marz (5648 posts) -

I'm just wondering if that controller is going to be comfortable after holding it for a few hours.

#39 Posted by arch4non (443 posts) -

The Wii U looks really, really cool. From what they were saying it's up to the developers to choose how to use the hardware. There will most likely be more ergonomical versions of the controller without a screen which can be used like the classic controller on the current Wii.

#40 Posted by Lobster_Ear (285 posts) -

The console looks like a Wii-360 hybrid

#41 Posted by soralapio (261 posts) -

@DarthB said:

Fuck. I know I'll probably buy this thing about 6 months to a year after launch, then proceed to never use it if it's supported like the wii is. Here's hoping it has great software support!

The controller has the same buttons as the PS3 and 360. The console should be at least as powerful, if not more so. This time there's no reason not to port and as companies love money, they surely will. Add to this Nintendo's amazing first party support and it's hard to not get a bit excited about the Wii U (even if the name kind of sucks).

#42 Posted by Virtua_Ben (132 posts) -

@AuthenticM said:

Such a fucking horrible name. Oh my God.

Couldn't agree more...but i'm hopeful for the gameplay. That's all that matters.

#43 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

Vita sounds like a fantastic name in comparison to this. Honestly this thing looks retarded.

#44 Posted by Beforet (2916 posts) -

When you think PlayStation Vita will take the gold for goofiest name of E3, Nintendo rolls out the Wii U. Bravo, gentlemen, bravo.

#45 Posted by Xeiphyer (5602 posts) -

Not that impressed with the controller stuff, not enough to make it a real game changer.
 
I hope Nintendo proves my wrong, but this thing looks DOA. A console that plays ps3 and 360 games is fine, but those consoles are 6 years old, and this Wiiu isn't coming until at least next year. Shortly after that we will see the next generation from Sony and Microsoft, which will render the Wiiu's graphical capability useless, and then the only thing they have going for them is this controller (unless they have more gimmicks to announce).
 
I can't see how the casual market will be buying the wiiu either, they already have a wii and it never gets played. Most people aren't going to pick it up any time soon.
 
I guess we will see in the coming months, but I am definitely keeping my expectations metered for now.

#46 Posted by MachoFantastico (4613 posts) -

Nintendo did a really poor job of describing the system, I still don't get what it actually is.

Overall I was underwhelmed by what I saw, the controller looked awful.

#47 Posted by golguin (3874 posts) -

I was blown away by the controller and the concepts that were shown. I don't understand all this "I don't get it" stuff assuming it isn't simply trolling.

#48 Posted by Jiggah (308 posts) -
@Changgo
They already did.  Streaming Lair on the PSP and the PS3.  The Vita would be able to do this too if Sony chooses.  If developers incorporate these features to the WiiU expect it to show up as additional features for the Vita/PS3.
#49 Posted by 49th (2727 posts) -

I thought of a much better name:  
Wii2 U 
Their tag line would be:
From We to You

#50 Posted by nightbird (54 posts) -

Now if I only had a reason to turn my wii on...

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