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

TripHamer
TripHamer's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2010
I don't do multiplayer....

I don't do multiplayer, but in this day and age, it's a Must.

n/a
Lorfarius
Lorfarius's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2010
Still not sure what to make

Still not sure what to make of this whole thing. Thing is Nintendo have always gone their own way and I can't see them doing it purely profit, there's usually something for the good of gaming in their ideas so I still hold out hope it will be goo.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Nintendo is a company first
Lorfarius wrote:

Still not sure what to make of this whole thing. Thing is Nintendo have always gone their own way and I can't see them doing it purely profit, there's usually something for the good of gaming in their ideas so I still hold out hope it will be goo.

Huh? Nintendo's first goal has always been profit first, just like any good company. Some companies are willing to forgo initial hardware margins (Microsoft and Sony, as examples) to launch better hardware (at a loss), but Nintendo has shown time and again that their preference is to take it a bit easy on the hardware and maximize their margins, never selling their hardware at a loss, even at launch.

I'm sure the Wii U will be good, hopefully it will be enough to last through the next generation. Nintendo also has to be very, very careful with milking their IP's too much, which they're dangerously close to doing. Honestly, outside of the new hardware, Nintendo's main goal seemed to be to promote the same games we've seen time and again (and again, and again).

n/a
Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
They'll make GC games

They'll make GC games downloadable instead! :)

This just in:

Nintendo has revealed that the tablet-style controller for its newly announced Wii U console will not be available to buy separately. Multiplayer games on the system will require other players to use Wii Remotes.

"Both the controller and the console will be sold as one unit," a Nintendo spokesperson told CVG during E3. "You won't be able to buy the controller alone."

No details are forthcoming as to whether more than one of the new controllers can be synced to a single Wii U - this would at least allow Wii U-owning friends to have their own screens, too.

n/a
clok1966
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2009
bounce
Nous wrote:

They'll make GC games downloadable instead! :)

"Both the controller and the console will be sold as one unit," a Nintendo spokesperson told CVG during E3. "You won't be able to buy the controller alone."

Weeeeee....nobody has ever had rage playing a game (nes controlers WILL BOUNCE off carpet high enouhg to hit the cieling... not that I know, nope), or had a button fail on a controler... sure glad I just buy the whole system to replace a part that has a High failrate (contolers). I suspect they mean there will be no way to hook 2 up, and we will be able to buy replacements... sure hope so.

TripHamer
TripHamer's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2010
Another though on only 1 controller.

Another thought on only 1 controller.

It may seem a little far fetched, but it can be possible that the U controller is "keyed" to the base unit.....don't know why they would do such a thing, but it could possibly happen. In that case you'd have to call Nintendo and order a new one that is "keyed" to your base unit, if yours breaks and can't be fixed with spare parts from on eBay.

But this is all just speculation on my part.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
We talked about the one

We talked about the one controller rumor below, which is what I'm treating it as at this point in time, a rumor. There is no official confirmation of that. The challenge with that is that would literally restrict player 1 to being the ONLY player with a custom screen (say a map or inventory), and having the touchscreen functionality. Naturally there are other features absent in the Wii Remote+ that are present in the touchscreen controller. So again, *I'm* having a hard time understanding the logic behind being restricted to one controller, particularly since Nintendo could easily get away with charging $99 - $129 for a second one based on what its proven people will buy. If indeed there's a technical issue with two way streaming (particularly from a video standpoint) to more than one controller, then Nintendo should have went back to the drawing board. After all, they could have easily waiting one more year and just created more games for the Wii instead of trying to start the next gen arguably earlier than it needed to be.

I suppose one scenario is is that player 1 will have the full blown controller, while player's two through four (or five, since I think it can sync the full four Wii Remotes in addition to the main controller) might get a NEW type of controller that has all the same functionality as player 1's controller (dual analog sticks, tracking, etc.), except for the touchscreen, making them look more like Xbox 360 controllers. If indeed there isn't the option for more than one person to use the touchscreen controller, then I see this as the ONLY logical alternative scenario. It's still not good, but it's better than restricting the other players to Wii controller options.

I can also see this being a significant hassle for developers, because the implication is that they'll have to support many different controllers and control schemes (all of the Wii controllers, in addition to anything new on the Wii U).

TripHamer may also be right about the possibility of the controller being keyed to the base unit (under the single controller scenario), but I would consider that a stretch from the standpoint of replacing it. It would create far more cost and effort for Nintendo to exchange controllers (even at a cost) than to just sell the things separately. I can't imagine the syncing process being much more involved than a standard (though customized, naturally) type of Bluetooth sync.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
More than one touchscreen controller on Wii U

Here is the latest on Gamasutra regarding using more than one controller: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/35137/Nintendo_Wii_U_Controllers_Not_...

So, essentially, it's still up in the air, and you may also be able to use your 3DS as a controller (again, poor developers, having to potentially support all those possible controller combinations!). I have a feeling that if it's technically possible, Nintendo will definitely support at least two touchscreen controllers at once. If not, major fail at the design stage by Nintendo. I will give them a pass for not having the technological bandwidth from the system to support more than two of those controllers, though.

n/a
Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
Apparently Sony is planning

Apparently Sony is planning to steal the U's thunder. Vita/PS3 will copy some of the functionality. I doubt MS is far behind.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Sony
Matt Barton wrote:

Apparently Sony is planning to steal the U's thunder. Vita/PS3 will copy some of the functionality. I doubt MS is far behind.

I saw that a few days ago too. It's just marketing BS. Silly, really. You can't compare a separate $300 console and $250 handheld combination ($550 minimum) with a single, unified system expressly designed around the concept. It does beg the point, though, that Nintendo REALLY has to offer up minimum two player functionality, otherwise they can continue to be "embarrassed" like this, even if it's not entirely true. With that said, Sony has clearly not learned much either, with continuing the unnecessary smack-talk. Their products are good enough to stand on their own without having to belittle competitor efforts. It makes them seem arrogant, particularly when their competitor's products routinely outsell them.

n/a

Comment viewing options

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