LOS ANGELES — Here’s Nintendo’s video providing an early peek at the redesigned Wii U and its touchscreen GamePad controller, which now has dual control sticks.
A new button on the pad also turns it into a fully independent TV remote control, plus it works as a browser and messaging console, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata explains in the video.
By releasing the video over the weekend, Nintendo got a jump on Microsoft’s Monday press event, but Nintendo’s still holding most details of its new console until its event on Tuesday morning.
The video mostly explains the company’s thinking behind the new console, which Iwata said is designed to produce more smiles, more laughs and more empathy.
Among the cool demos in the video is a game with throwing stars that are flicked at targets on the TV screen by sliding fingers across the Wii U controller’s touchscreen. It shows up about 8 minutes into the video.
At 8:40, a new version of the Wii baseball game is shown, with the motion-sensing control pad used to “catch” a ball by moving it around and centering the ball within a circular reticle representing the glove.
About 26 minutes in, the controller is shown being used as a browser separate from what the console is displaying on the TV. If you find a website or a photo that you want to share with others in the room, it can be “flicked” to the TV’s larger screen.
The Wii U will bring Nintendo up to par with the Xbox and PlayStation in supporting hard-core games, and Nintendo is even offering a new Xbox-style controller called the “Pro” that will be sold separately.
Iwata also gave gamers at E3 and others following the news context to understand what Nintendo was trying to accomplish with the Wii U. In addition to creating a high-def version of the Wii that supports more advanced games and video services, Nintendo had more worldly concerns.
The company wanted to build a device that people would enjoy together, rather than use in isolation like some new technologies that can have people sitting in a circle staring silently at their gadgets, being “alone together.”
It accomplishes this both with interactive games and sharing features and the new “Miiverse” social network based on players’ Mii avatars. Iwata said the communications via this network will be done mostly through the Wii U controller, which Nintendo considers a “social window.” Eventually the system will be accessible through smartphones, PC and tablets — basically any Web-enabled device, Iwata said.