Coming just prior to the biggest gaming convention – E3 – Nintendo President/CEO Satoru Iwata has released further details about their upcoming home console, the Wii U.
The touch screen controller, dubbed the GamePad, in its finalised form remains largely the same, with some minor realignment of the D-Pad and face buttons for improved ergonomics. The diminutive circle pads, as seen on the 3DS, have been replaced with fuller sized analogue sticks which can be depressed for access to two further buttons.
The tablet-like pad will also feature a “near fields communication” scanner which will allow for cards and other real-world items to be read and integrated into the games.
For those titles that don’t utilise the unique features of the GamePad, such as the classic games inevitably available to download, Nintendo unveiled a “Pro” controller that is infinitely more standard in its layout - no touch screen, just twin analogue sticks, D-Pad, face and shoulder buttons.
The Nintendo CEO also gave us the first insight into how the console manufacturer intends to tackle the now largely online-linked world of gaming communities, with what the company calls the “Miiverse”. It appears a form of gaming social networking, utilising messaging, both text and video, and other features as a sort of meta-layer that’s permanently on whilst playing.
The intention seems to be to connect gamers, and make it less of a solitary experience, but as with Nintendo’s previous steps to link players in different locales (such as their numerical - and forgettable - friend codes), the efficiency and usability of the service remains to be seen.