E3 2011 Viewpoints: Nintendo Wii U and 3DS | (yes, Nintendo's next console is pronounced, "We You")

Bill Loguidice's picture

After starting off with Microsoft, Sony, and Apple, it's only fitting we conclude with Nintendo, and the biggest announcement of the week: Nintendo Wii U. I'll also talk about how my predictions from April 19, 2011, based on previous rumors, worked out, inline, as appropriate (EDIT: You can read for yourself, actually, so I won't inline comment, I'll just say that I was correct in my prediction that the controller would be the ONLY innovation, in that any other expected innovations would add too much to the cost beyond the fancy controller):

  • Nintendo Wii U, "equally satisfying for all players" (hardcore and casual). Released some time in 2012 (Nintendo's focus this year is 3DS, with more franchise titles (Mario Kart, Star Fox, Kid Icarus, Mario, Luigi's Mansion)). I'm not sure I'm a fan of the name. I probably like it even less than I did "Wii", which did eventually grow on me. We'll see.
  • The controller looks a lot like a white tablet. It's generously sized (it has a 6.2" screen--goodness knows what the controller will be priced separately!). Pen-enabled. Also works with a finger. The screen (mock-up or not), looks very nice. It's a motion controller too and can play games stand-alone or in conjunction with a TV. It also has a camera (voice and video chat enabled). Nice!
  • Nintendo definitely took inspiration from Apple's iPad here. It's like the bastard child of an iPad 2 and Wii, with a little Xbox 360 thrown in for good measure.
  • It's backwards compatible with all the games and peripherals of the Wii.
  • Games appear to work differently if a player is using the new controller or a Wii Remote. There looks to be a lot of emphasis on the motion control features of the controller.
  • It's NOT designed to be a portable game machine, even though it shares some design characteristics. Everything is wirelessly transmitted from the console (no latency).
  • They talked a lot about HD images on TV or on the controller's screen. So this is definitely HD (EDIT: The console will output 1080p to the TV, but the controller screen will NOT be HD). Based on the non-gameplay and other graphics they showed, it's quite impressive looking, so probably at LEAST a little more powerful than Xbox 360 and PS3.
  • The Nunchuk port on the bottom of the controller is interesting, as it can also be used to snap the screen controller onto plastic peripherals.
  • They emphasized video chat and showing photos on your TV.
  • They talked about the expected interaction between Wii U and 3DS games, with Smash Brothers being the example.
  • They mentioned ONE game in particular (third parties mentioned others, like Batman: Arkham City and EA Sports stuff), Lego City Stories, a new open world game (exclusive to Wii U and 3DS). Beyond that, they made sure to mention what would be considered hardcore (core) gamer titles.
  • They talked a bit about online stuff, so hopefully they'll be more committed to the concept this time. The hardware is certainly there for it, at least.
  • There was no mention of storage or other specifics, so we'll probably have quite the wait for details like that.

As for the 3DS:

  • Nothing special here outside of the usual future game releases (which, like the other platforms, are what they are), but Nintendo did release the 3DS Web browser and activate its online store yesterday, which they talked about again today. They even included a free Pokemon 3D viewer and a temporarily free 3D version of the original Excitebike. I'll report back when I have a chance to put in some quality time with them.
  • There was brief mention of 3D updates perhaps via the 3DS Virtual Console of retro console software, "even before the NES". There was stuff before the NES?

So what do I think of the Wii U? Outside of the lame name, I think the core concepts and ideas are great if they can be executed smoothly. As more specifics are revealed in the coming months, I'll definitely provide further thoughts, but first impressions are quite good. The backwards compatibility thing is certainly appreciated as well, though I wonder if that extends all the way back to the GameCube?

So, there you have it. All the Microsoft, Sony, Apple, and Nintendo updates in their own respective blog posts. Let's hear your own thoughts in the comments!

Comments

Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
I might have misunderstood,

I might have misunderstood, but you actually said: "By slightly better, that could just mean smoother frame rates, higher polygon counts, etc., i.e., basically what you get with a present high end PC versus what you get on the Xbox 360/PS3. In order to pull that off, you wouldn't need 100% more power."

The above, as I understand it, is completely wrong! It just isn't the case! A high-end PC does look noticeably better in all the ways that you describe, but then again it's not just 100% more powerful .. it's up to 1000% more powerful!

We agree on everything else of course. I dunno about the price point but I won't be surprised if it's $300 or $350 even ... and then there's the price of the controller itself!

You say new and shiny ... that's true, in a way, but it's also wrong in another: if most games are/play/look the same more or less (more, rather than less!) ... then the price point will determine how well it will do in the short period of time between its release and that of the XBox 720/PS4 etc

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Yes, that is what I said. All

Yes, that is what I said. All I was basically getting at (to put it simply) was that better performance, no matter the percentage, can still be noticeable to those looking for it. It's the equivalent of the anal retentive individuals who compare Xbox 360 and PS3 games that use the same assets and look for a bit more aliasing on one system over the other or the occasional frame rate drop on one and not the other. Most people would never notice such a minor difference or even care, let alone without the benefit of a direct side-to-side comparison that never happens in the real world.

I could see $349, but that would tops. I can't see a separate controller going past $129. Neither scenario makes much sense. I think, given what we know at present, $299 and $99 would be quite fair and extremely competitive given the feature-set.

n/a
Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
$299 and $99 might be a bit

$299 and $99 might be a bit optimistic, knowing Nintendo (and seeing how they priced the 3DS vs PSP + PSVita)

$350 and $130 might be more realistic if you ask me.

It's interesting that, as I speculated a few years ago, Nintendo now DOES seem to be sort of doing a U turn after realising they can't really compete in the vast, casual market against behemoths like Google, Apple, etc ... and are now openly trying to reclaim the core gaming demographic! It's probably the only thing they could do right now anyway ... whether their plan is going to work or not, that remains to be seen.

It will be interesting to watch ...

n/a
TripHamer
TripHamer's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2010
It's Nintendo we're talking about here....

It's Nintendo we're talking about here......so I would think that it'll more likely appear to be like the ps3/360 class of games, but not exactly. I think their track record will continue to hold here also. It will look good enough for the vast majority of people to accept it as ps3/360 class and the rest, it won't matter.

Anything less then that and I'll most likely pass on it, as it won't sell for less than $300 regardless. Also I already got superior stuff so the new "gimmick" controller won't be enough to temp me to buy.

But I'll be optimistic at this point as it's way too early still.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
More
TripHamer wrote:

It's Nintendo we're talking about here......so I would think that it'll more likely appear to be like the ps3/360 class of games, but not exactly. I think their track record will continue to hold here also. It will look good enough for the vast majority of people to accept it as ps3/360 class and the rest, it won't matter.

Anything less then that and I'll most likely pass on it, as it won't sell for less than $300 regardless. Also I already got superior stuff so the new "gimmick" controller won't be enough to temp me to buy.

Right, I think we can agree that it's going to be at least $299 for the console bundle and at least $99 for another controller. I will be surprised if it exceeds either number by more than $30 though given Nintendo's track record. I think given what will likely be at least a year headstart over Sony's and Microsoft's next systems, it would behoove them to create as much of a sales lead as possible. I think a strong price point would go a long way towards that goal given all the other things the system will have going for it.

It's at least at technical parity with 360/PS3. The question becomes simply how much better, if at all. Certainly because it uses some type of onboard flash memory (anywhere from 8GB on up, which will be user expandable through flash drives), it will be relying on minimal data caching, so we also have to consider what other "trickery" they'll have to employ to help the system run optimally, since it won't have the "crutch" of being able to cache large amounts of data. Perhaps that issue will be addressed with a higher speed optical drive. Certainly given its proprietary nature and lack of need to play DVD's, it can probably be tuned to be quite fast. Again, it's all in how the money is spent on the architecture. We already know the controller is going to be the most heavily engineered part of the system, so it's just a question of how many resources are left over to make sure the "base station" is up to snuff in all ways.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Nintendo Uses 360 and PS3 Footage for Wii U

Too funny: http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/08/nintendo-admits-its-wii-u-highlight-r...

I wondered about the garden tech demo-ey thing and then showcasing those other games. It all makes sense now. Quote from the article, "...that the eventual Wii U games will look at least as good as their PS3 / 360 counterparts." So, yeah, at best, slightly better performance, otherwise they'd be touting an advantage. Interesting strategy, but one that makes sense in light of the obvious cost of the controller, which is what they're banking the future on rather than raw tech.

Not cool on Nintendo's part to be so deceptive. All they had to mark those images with were "sample target" or some such thing.

n/a
TripHamer
TripHamer's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2010
Given the small size

Given the small size of the base station, I would guess that you are going to have a power brick somewhere and a Sensor for the top of the tv.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Sensor bar
TripHamer wrote:

Given the small size of the base station, I would guess that you are going to have a power brick somewhere and a Sensor for the top of the tv.

Sadly, I think you're 100% right about the sensor by the TV thing (which I was never a big fan of) since that will be necessary for the backwards compatibility with the Wii Remotes. It would be nice if they included a battery powered one this time with optional connection to the system for convenience. After all, the cable from the sensor to the Wii is only there to provide power.

n/a
TripHamer
TripHamer's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2010
One solution.
Bill Loguidice wrote:

It would be nice if they included a battery powered one this time with optional connection to the system for convenience. After all, the cable from the sensor to the Wii is only there to provide power.

Radio Shack...a couple of (photo/IR diodes? I forget) and some batteries? I bought what I needed a while ago but never assembled them.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Not much tech in there...
TripHamer wrote:
Bill Loguidice wrote:

It would be nice if they included a battery powered one this time with optional connection to the system for convenience. After all, the cable from the sensor to the Wii is only there to provide power.

Radio Shack...a couple of (photo/IR diodes? I forget) and some batteries? I bought what I needed a while ago but never assembled them.

I have a wireless sensor bar too (they've been as cheap as $3--I'm not as handy as you), I'm just saying that it would be nice to be untethered out of the box...

n/a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.