Nintendo at E3: Wii U and endless unanswered questions

Nintendo has just finished its E3 press conference and as many had predicted they did show off their new console which has been named Wii U – but in true Nintendo fashion they did their way by only showing off the revolutionary controller and not the actual console itself. It was more like a half unveil with the actual console being shown off properly sometime in the future.


Quite why Nintendo thought it would be a good idea not to show the actual console is puzzling. Either they wanted the controller to take centre stage or they haven’t actually got a console. Were betting on a bit of both. It’s almost as if they forgot to show off the console for us it was one of the most bizarre console unveiling in E3 history.

They did have some small wafer thin box next the screen in some of the videos on show, but they didn’t show it off physically or go into detail about it. Today it was all about the controller, not the box that powers it.
The Wii U has what Nintendo and others are calling the most advanced controllers ever. It looks like a small 8-inch tablet device with DS-like screen and traditional Xbox/Playstation controls all baked into one rather impressive looking controller.

Nintendo showed off how you can play games on a normal HDTV using the controller like you would any other consoles. And how can play games on both your HD TV and on the 6.5-inch on the controller at the same time or just on the 6.5-inch on it’s own.

They then went on to show innovative ways on how future games could use the second screen. One eye catching example was the new controller laying on the ground showing a golf ball in a bunker on the screen. The user was the stood over the controller with the original Wii remote and nunchuk and the game on the HDTV in front of the player. It looked mighty impressive. All at the same time seamlessly with no lag or latency.

Nintendo went on to promise that all the controllers from Wii would be backwards compatible; so you’ll be able to use your Wii Fit Board, Wii remote and nunchuck for the new console.

The tech demos showed off new types of gameplay you’d usually expect to find on the DSI and 3DS on the new console. Players can use the touchscreen with your fingers or Nintendo Stylus a la DSI or 3DS on the controller, which then appeared on your TV seamlessly with no latency. One such example was painting on Art Academy on the new controller then appearing in real time in high-def on your TV.

They promised that the controller would have gyroscope, accelerometers, front facing camera and microphone. The console and controller would have internet browsing as well as video chat all through the controller and TV.

What didn’t say anything about is how long does the controller last on battery, does it even run on batteries or have they created all-new power source? Most worrying was the lack of price or release date during the press conference.

They went on to announce a new partnership with EA, which will see all of its massive gaming franchises coming to the new console including BF3, Madden and FIFA. There will be full online gaming for all the titles, as well as exclusive support of the second screen capabilities. This was shown off with Madden, where all plays were handled on the screen on the controller leaving the TV for the actual gameplay.

We’re slightly concerned that there wasn’t any mention of the actual console. Call us old fashioned but how can we make a judgment on the console if we can’t even see it. We have no idea how powerful it is, what media will the games come on? Is it Full HD? Even little things like how many controllers can play together. Most of all is how much is this very impressive new controller going to be? What storage solutions will be offered? All of this was not mentioned during the press conference.

Nintendo always do things a little different, but for consumers to take the new console serious we need to see some bricks and mortar. Today’s announcement has left more questions than answers. There’s no chance that you’ll seeing this console anytime soon. They haven’t even got a console from the looks of it. They’ve got a controller. All be it a very nice one. So we need to be patient and see what they come up with. The controller looks incredible. But it looks like it is going to cost an arm and a leg. Then you have to buy the yet to be seen console. Were slightly worried. But Nintendo has a lot to still show off. When. That is the million-dollar question. Nobody knows.

Although they didn’t say any of this Nintendo during the event – the new console will run in full HD, via HDMI, but the touchscreen isn’t HD. The console has internal Flash memory which can be augmented with “SD Card or USB solutions”. It will play optical disks and downloadable content, and will be backwards-compatible with Wii software. And it will launch some time between 1 April and 31 December 2012.

It will be the oddest console ever, and possibly the best, too. Or it may turn out to be a complete cul-de-sac. But one thing is for sure: it won’t just be another generic games console.

Batman: Arkham City, an Assassin’s Creed game, Dirt, Ghost Recon Online, Tekken, Metro Last Light,Aliens Colonial Marines, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, and Darksiders II all got a mention as coming to the Wii U. Yes!