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Wii U Game Pad detailed at Nintendo’s pre-E3 conference

Sunday, 3 June 2012 19:49 GMT By Staff

Nintendo gave us a first look at its final Wii U vision tonight, christening its tablet controller the Wii U Game Pad and announcing a traditionally-styled Wii U Pro Controller.

AT A GLANCE

Nintendo chose to focus on the high-level concepts of the Wii U, putting games coverage off until its core E3 conference.

The Wii U’s tablet controller’s final form was shown, complete with analog sticks and under-stick buttons. It’s called the Wii U Game Pad. A black one was shown.

The Wii U will have its own classic-style control, the Pro Controller.

MiiVerse, the Wii U’s main network, was shown. Players will be able to swap status messages, share game content, and connect to each other.

President Satoru Iwata explained that the Wii U is intended to connect people through devices, not just connect them to their devices.

Wii U Game Pad
The tablet controller has been named the Wii U Game Pad and has, as rumoured, two analog sticks rather than the circle pads shown at previous events. The two analog controls feature under-stick buttons, like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, upping the total number of inputs.

The back of the controller and the button layer have been redesigned for comfort, and the Game Pad now includes an NFC reader-writer – like those used for PayWave credit cards and smartphones – which Iwata suggests will be used with “cards or figures”.

The controller works even when the Wii U console is not available; Nintendo president Satorua Iwata stressed that while existing WiiMotes can only turn the console on, the game pad can be used independently of the TV in some instances. The Game Pad also functions as a full-featured TV remote control.

The controller was shown being used as the main monitor for Wii Fit and a Mario game, something Nintendo engineers call “asymmetric diversity”. A black version of the Game Pad was seen in the following video.

Iwata confirmed the Wii U will support existing Wii controls, including the Wiimote, the Nunchuk and the balance board. The Classic controller was not mentioned, but a new controller, the Wii U Pro Controller, was debuted; there’s a screengrab of the new peripheral below.

MiiVerse and Nintendo Network

MiiVerse allows for messaging, content sharing, and other socila features.

MiiVerse is native to Wii U and works with all games. Opening MiiVerse does not disrupt gameplay.

Although it won’t be available when the Wii U launches, MiiVerse and the Nintendo Network will eventually be available from web-enabled devices – the 3DS, PCs and mobiles.

MiiVerse and the human connection
A concept video was rolled, showing a player seeking help from others online directly through the Game Pad. The controller asked the player’s mood and prompted him to post a status update after a failed boss fight.

“Guess I’m not alone after all,” the actor commented when he received a number of sympathetic responses.

During the video, we got a glimpse of something Iwata called MiiVerse. This space is the first and last thing the player sees when the console is activated or deactivated, and is “a place where Miis from around the world can meet and connect”. Iwata mentioned that players can meet Miis from their home territory or preferred language.

The Mii-based social network is “as native to Wii U as the Wii U Game Pad”, can be opened at any time without disrupting gameplay, and will be compatible with all Wii U games.

Iwata admitted that MiiVerse – and the whole concept of a console network – is not new, but said Nintendo’s take is distinctive in a couple of ways. The Game Pad allows players to easily read text material from the network thanks to its handheld display, for example, and the touch pad makes it easy to type or even send handwritten messages and doodles.

The messaging and status update area looked similar to Sony’s LiveArea for Vita, and Iwata also confirmed players will be able to transfer game content through MiiVerse, as with near.

MiiVerse will be available via the Nintendo Network on “any web-enabled mobile device”, including 3DS and even PC, but not at the time of Wii U’s launch. The Wii U’s web browser was shown for the first time, working on both the Game Pad and TV screen.

“I believe when you hear from Nintendo this week, there may be several times when you say to yourself, well, that’s certainly something unique, and hopefully you’ll be thinking about unique in a good way.”

The concept
Speaking from a seventh floor conference room in Nintendo’s Kyoto HQ, Iwata said the room’s single decoration, a piece of Japanese calligraphy, displayed the company’s motto since its earliest days: “creating something unique”.

“I believe when you hear from Nintendo this week, there may be several times when you say to yourself, well, that’s certainly something unique, and hopefully you’ll be thinking about unique in a good way,” Iwata said.

Saving all game details for the full E3 press conference, Iwata chose to focus on the high-level sconcepts behind the Wii U. The president said there is some confusion as to whether the Wii U is a “simple evolution of Wii or something entirely different”, and that the answer is “both”.

“Wii U does what we did, only better, and at the same time, it’s entirely new,” he said.

The Wii U is designed to continue Nintendo’s Wii goal of turning the living room into a playground which connects those sharing the space, but also, “connects people living room to living room” much more effectively. Nintendo’s aim with the Wii U is to introduce a piece of technology which unites, rather than divides, Iwata explained, showing an image of users ignoring each other to focus on devices – “together alone”.

“New technologies in general have made life easier and more efficient but we have to wonder what this will mean for the nature of human relationships moving forward,” Iwata said.

“Even with no-one else in the room, you won’t feel alone,” he added, describing Nintendo’s solution to the “together alone” problem as “together better”.

The presentation
The presentation was broadcast on Nintendo Japan’s website and Facebook. As noted on Nintendo’s Facebook page today, the event gave the public an opportunity to “learn more about the Wii U console”. You can watch the presentation in full below.

Nintendo’s full E3 press conference takes place Tuesday, June 5 at 9.00am PDT/12.00pm EST/5.00pm UK.

For a full run-down of our E3 content next week, take a look at this.

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80 Comments

  1. Razor

    Is this going to be in English and/or have subtitles?

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Moonwalker1982

    I’m doing my best to keep my enthusiasm to a minimum, simply to avoid dissappointmens, but maaaaan am i curious. Although i don’t think we’ll see any games today, but hopefully we can finally put those goddammn rumours to rest about the Wii U being either weaker or stronger than the current consoles.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Patrick Garratt

    It’ll be in English, definitely.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    Well, specs would be the main story. If it’s less powerful than 360 it’s going to make for a very interesting show.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Razor

    Awesome.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. kony 2012

    i think they will show the aliens game since gearbox buzz about it so much on the Wii U

    #6 3 years ago
  7. kony 2012

    bet they show of aliens since gearbox are more excited for this on Wii U

    #7 3 years ago
  8. AHA-Lambda

    Ninty has already said that at E3 they won’t talk about price, release dates or specs. So presumably this will be all about games I hope.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Johnny Cullen

    It won’t be about games. Nintendo said in the Facebook post in the story it won’t be talking games until Tuesday. So my reckoning is it’s gonna be hardware and services.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Patrick Garratt

    It’ll answer the question, “What is Wii U?” It’ll primarily be to show final hardware, I reckon.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. AHA-Lambda

    Damn =/

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Patrick Garratt

    It’s being streamed on Facebook as well. I’ve added a link.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Pytox

    50minutes to go

    #13 3 years ago
  14. kony 2012

    hope they show aliens on wii U since gearbox talk about it so much

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Patrick Garratt

    This is it! Good times, hopefully.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Moonwalker1982

    @8

    Which is really good, finally we’ll know what hardware to expect then. Finzally we can put those rumours to rest and what not.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Phoenixblight

    SO expect hardware but not the specs? Uh kay

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Gekidami

    Expect nothing then, i guess. Besides Reggie talking really slowly, of course.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. KrazyKraut

    thx for the links and the info. You guys should get the webby award: awesome active blog + user affinity. <3 ich liebe euch <3

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Ireland Michael

    Specs don’t matter.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. KrazyKraut

    size doesnt matter.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Moonwalker1982

    @17

    They don’t? Well…like i said..the rumours about whether its weaker/stronger than 360 and PS3 can finally be laid to rest….right? And that’s a good thing in my book.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Ireland Michael

    @19 No, they don’t.

    It’s been proven countless times that specs don’t make a game, good gameplay does. It doesn’t matter how powerful or weak the hardware is if it doesn’t have the games to support it, and despite always being a generation behind in the hardware, Nintendo has consistently come out on top in the last two generations.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Phoenixblight

    @20
    Specs kind of do matter since if they are not at the same curb as the current gen. They won’t get 3rd party support which will once again create a machine that is a paper weight unless Nintendo releases a first party game. THat is one of the reason why I sold the Wii because all I was doing was waiting for the next Ninty game since there were no third party games worthy of playing on it.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. Moonwalker1982

    @20

    Ah like that, yes true, but absolutely not for me. Nintendo with Wii was very dissappointing for me, i absolutely didn’t like it at all. I hope they are finally gonna come with some great third party exclusives and just some games that ‘hardcore’ gamers will like. I hope Ninty gives us reason to look forward to the Wii U.

    Fact is, they are coming with a brand new console, if they are not gonna be at least as powerful or more powerful than current consoles..why even bother making a HD console then?

    #25 3 years ago
  26. Patrick Garratt

    Ten minutes!

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Ireland Michael

    @22 Although hardware leaps are beneficial to a point, it’ll obviously be HD-ready and have a decent online infrastructure, so that’s more than enough for me.

    I’m of the apparently unpopular belief that current console graphics are more than satisfactory, and development costs *really* don’t need to be getting any higher right now.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. Gekidami

    @20 They’ve come out on top in the last 2 gens? …What? In what universe did the Gamecube “come out on top” of the PS2? Not only did the system sell less, but it was seriously lacking in games compared to the PS2.

    And please, the Wii has had terrible software sales besides Nintendo’s own franchises and thats only because they were big, recognised names, and quite honestly, a terrible software lineup all round. Sure it had some gems, but compared to the 360 & PS3 it was horribly lacking in quality games, all because its specs stopped it from getting the same third party games.

    the Wii’s massive sales had nothing to do with the specs, everything to do with the motion control gimmick catching the mass markets eye. They’re ‘low spec’ approach has proven nothing.

    #28 3 years ago
  29. daytripper

    Thought the Gamecube was brilliant myself, Rogue Squadron, Resident Evil 4, Mario Sunshine, great little console with a comfortable controller.

    #29 3 years ago
  30. Colin Gallacher

    HERE WE GO!

    #30 3 years ago
  31. Ireland Michael

    @25 Up until the last two years, Nintendo were the hardware leaders on all fronts. The Wii was outselling everything, and the DS was outselling everything. The 3DS looks to end up doing the same, now that the early hardware slump has stopped.

    The Gamecube clearly wasn’t a success, but those other three formats obviously were.

    “They’re ‘low spec’ approach has proven nothing.”

    It proves that the mass market consumers doesn’t care about specs.

    #31 3 years ago
  32. Sadismek

    Yeap. Glad it’s in English.

    #32 3 years ago
  33. Gekidami

    @26
    I thought those games were great too, but then i also think getting time off work when you have the flu is great. See, you can easily cherry pick and only remember the best, but it wont change the reality that whilst you’re off work, you’re also vomiting all over the place and feel like shit.

    @28
    Nope, it proves that a gimmick and a low price will sell your stuff, even if you’ve got no real substance to go with it.

    Also this is worth pointing out:

    “63% of developers who spoke to IGN said the Wii U would be the most challenging platform to develop for. One creator went as far as saying, “we won’t be working on Wii U due to these complexities””
    http://uk.ign.com/articles/2012/06/01/the-next-generation-according-to-game-developers

    #33 3 years ago
  34. KrazyKraut

    “create something unique” like this motto

    #34 3 years ago
  35. Sadismek

    Wow they’re showing the controller now… Looks… meh? The screen is quite small.

    Edit: Screw that, it’s way better than before.

    #35 3 years ago
  36. KrazyKraut

    backwards support + classic controller. NICE!

    #36 3 years ago
  37. KrazyKraut

    haha^^the ad..wtf. its more ms style than nintendo…?

    #37 3 years ago
  38. marijnlems

    Switched it off halfway through the ridiculously embarrassing video. I’ll read what the news is tomorrow.

    #38 3 years ago
  39. daytripper

    this is shit

    #39 3 years ago
  40. absolutezero

    Me and you. Togethor.

    Wii U.

    #40 3 years ago
  41. Erthazus

    More questions now then answers.

    What is Nintendo Network and how it’s online infrastructure will work?
    Wii U GamePad design is better, but screen is small and i still don’t get why i need to use it. To chat? Weull… okay.

    They showed too much what iPad or Vita can do. Nothing really impressive.

    #41 3 years ago
  42. Phoenixblight

    Hahah Wow. Nintendo you lost the mark. Everything about that I just thought of the vita,smartphone and tablet.

    #42 3 years ago
  43. KrazyKraut

    mh…not bad. hope to hear a price tomorrow.

    #43 3 years ago
  44. daytripper

    well I’ll be looking forward to the actual games on tuesday, that video however was just boring, the whole mii thing is unappealing to me.

    console looks very nice in black

    #44 3 years ago
  45. kony 2012

    well that wasn’t amazing but this has so much potential cant wait for the conference to see the games in action

    #45 3 years ago
  46. Ireland Michael

    @30 “Nope, it proves that a gimmick and a low price will sell your stuff, even if you’ve got no real substance to go with it.”

    Blah blah blah. The Wii is host to some of the best games of this generation, and it still sold like hotcakes. Not everyone needs a gaming fix every single day.

    RE the conference: Pretty awesome. The chat functionality looks like it’ll be a tonne of fun, and that Pro controller is pretty sexy.

    #46 3 years ago
  47. Phoenixblight

    @40

    Nintendo’s day is Tuesday.

    #47 3 years ago
  48. Erthazus

    There will be no price tomorrow. Nintendo said they won’t announce price at E3.

    #48 3 years ago
  49. Moonwalker1982

    So…..no cross-chat?

    #49 3 years ago
  50. Sadismek

    It was not bad by any means. The UI looks fresh, and the fact that you can use the controller as a webcam, with no other costs is great. I definitely changed my plans about this.

    #50 3 years ago
  51. Dark

    I WANT MY 30 MINUTES BACK!!!

    #51 3 years ago
  52. kony 2012

    @Dark watch the Microsoft conference worth everyone’s time ;)

    #52 3 years ago
  53. KrazyKraut

    will this nintendo social app avaiable on ps3 or x360 too?

    #53 3 years ago
  54. Erthazus

    “and the fact that you can use the controller as a webcam, with no other costs is great.”

    LOL? Web Cam costs 10$. Wii U controller is not even a web cam, it’s going to have a shitty cam with mobile device quality.

    People expect too much from this controller, but in reality, that controller DOES NOT HAVE EVEN MULTITOUCH SCREEN which is Stupid.

    #54 3 years ago
  55. Moonwalker1982

    It’s all gonna be about the game for me on tuesday. But if this thing won’t have cross-chat, that would be bullshit.

    #55 3 years ago
  56. Erthazus

    Cross-chat?

    That “Kitchen sink” does not have Multitouch screen. Someone expect a Jesus tomorrow?

    #56 3 years ago
  57. strikkebil

    controller looks gud. i hope sony puts the joystiqs like that.

    #57 3 years ago
  58. Sadismek

    @49 Uh, multitouch for what? Pinch-and-zoom? And, yeah, the fact that you can use the controller as a webcam, as a graphical tablet, as a separate screen to play games, for no other cost is great.

    No Nintendo fanboy here, as I avoided Wii with all my will, but I like what I’ve seen here. Yeah, the screen is a bit smaller than I expected, the controller is a tad bulkier than I thought, but I think it’ll do just fine.

    #58 3 years ago
  59. Phoenixblight

    @50

    Will there be games thought they said that Nintendo will be focusing on the 3ds. THey may just do it like last year and using a compilement of videos streamed from a Xbox.

    #59 3 years ago
  60. nofear360

    Let’s hope they show off the new features with some actual games on Tuesday, preferably real-time. Really liked the Miiverse, I’m glad they are doing something different from the other two.

    #60 3 years ago
  61. mathare92

    They really are adamant on not showing the actual console huh? Just makes it more confusing for the punters who’ll assume they’re only buying a new controller/tablet for their existing Wii.

    P.S. Someone should really get on making a dubstep remix of Iwata saying “Wii Wara Wara”

    #61 3 years ago
  62. Erthazus

    #53,
    Multitouch? For gaming experiences of course. Multitouch you can use for

    Two Finger Scroll
    Pinch
    spread
    Rotate
    Two finger Tap
    flick
    Pan
    Double Tap feature
    Long Press
    Rotate with your fingers

    With singletouch you can’t do anything from this. You can only Tap and that’s it.
    If someone thinks that multitouch is for pinch-and-zoom he have serious problems. Singletouch is CRAP compared to what you can do with multitouch.

    It’s 2012. Good morning!

    “And, yeah, the fact that you can use the controller as a webcam”

    and you are going to use a controller as a web cam? Is this a new level of idiocy?

    #62 3 years ago
  63. Ireland Michael

    They’ve already said Tuesday will be when they show off the games.

    #63 3 years ago
  64. daytripper

    i could barely understand Iwata

    #64 3 years ago
  65. nofear360

    @58: If you’re referring to my comment, I meant these online/social features shown with some real games. I know real games will be shown on Tuesday, but will they also be shown with these new features? That’s what I’d like to see. Today we only saw it as a concept, with some poor zombie video. I want to see it applied to a real, playable game (oh, and I don’t doubt they can do it. I know they can, just out of curiosity want it to be seen within a real game, that is all :))

    #65 3 years ago
  66. Moonwalker1982

    Iwata said ‘Tuesday when we will show you game experiences you’ve never had’ …..riiiight, i wonder what thats gonna be then. I’m not gonna get my hopes up. Let’s just say i hope one thing, that they will finally make it interesting for the ‘hardcore’ gamer to buy it. The Wii is the one system i’ve been very dissappointed with. Only a few nice games and that was it.

    Wii U could have all the firepower to show amaizng looking games, if it doesn’t have some really good and especially….exclusive games from thid parties, that would really suck. I’m curious though, that’s for damn sure.

    #66 3 years ago
  67. Phoenixblight

    @61

    ANd not just Nintendo’s game but third party games. I don’t care for another Mario Galaxy or Zelda. I want to see what the third party does with this tech.

    #67 3 years ago
  68. Ireland Michael

    @61 Third party exclusives are a relic. You pretty much expect those games to appear on all formats now, which is where the Wii let itself down.

    #68 3 years ago
  69. daytripper

    Can only imagine what the chat interface allowing drawings etc to be linked with text will be like…

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-viyOdKOZRj4/TfGHG54YAaI/AAAAAAAAONk/lNoKNwKrWGM/s1600/WiiUGif.gif

    #69 3 years ago
  70. Fnoros

    so why are the thumbsticks above the buttons? It seems likely that it will lead to many an accidental button press.

    #70 3 years ago
  71. TheBlackHole

    That pro controller is balls. It’s a 360 controller with terribly placed thumbsticks. It’s like they wanted to avoid copyright infringement so just put the sticks up top.

    Also, what the fuck is a wii u? Ninty, if you insist on not showing the console people are going to be just as bloody confused as last year?!

    No specs, no games, no clarity. Not impressed.

    #71 3 years ago
  72. Ireland Michael

    @66 That’s what Tuesday is for.

    As has been pointed out a dozen times already.

    #72 3 years ago
  73. poketrainer

    The backgrounds on Mario Bros Wii U looked amazing and it’s good to see a squirrel suit power up and Yoshi confirmed for it already. it even looked like it had achievements

    #73 3 years ago
  74. Sadismek

    @57 You seem to forget this is, above all, a home console, not a portable gaming device, so all those features are useless, because you’d hardly prefer to play on such a small screen than on your 40” HD TV that thrones in your living room, only when the TV is used by someone else.

    “Multitouch? For gaming experiences of course”
    “Two Finger Scroll”

    Ok, I’m sure you’re using that everyday for gaming.

    You really should stop instulting people on the internet, it’s making you look weak. You’d thank me later for this advice. And the fact that after several years spent on an English website you’re still using a sentence like this “If someone thinks that multitouch is for pinch-and-zoom he have serious problems” then that means “he have serious problems”.

    “and you are going to use a controller as a web cam? Is this a new level of idiocy?” Good, if this is a new level of idiocy, then so be it. I don’t know about you, but when I communicate with someone dear, which I’ve probably haven’t seen in a long time, I’m mostly using a webcam. I know I’m not afraid to show my face to my friends. Don’t feel attacked, ok? And it’s really funny how you took only one of the three things I enumerated and tried to shit on it. Again, that means you haven’t found contra arguments for the other ones and stick to the one easier for you. Probably you don’t know, but a graphical tablet is nowhere near $10, and that packed a webcam, a touchscreen, thumb sticks and buttons in a single controller, which probably comes for free with the console, is a good thing.

    #74 3 years ago
  75. Froseidon

    I’m no Nintendo fan, preferred Xbox all my life. Admittedly, I had a Wii, thought is was okay but sold it due to feeling the Xbox (and probably PS3 – I wouldn’t know, never played one) was a better console for me. That being said, I liked what I saw when I watched the pre-conference yesterday night.

    #75 3 years ago
  76. polygem

    hmmm…it´s all about the games for me. i also think controllers are extremeley important. the 360 pad is the best imo. i don´t like the ds3 much (for some games it´s great too though), the wii had some awesome games but the controller(s) was a let down. the wiiu classic controller looks like a 360 pad which is kind of cool. actually, i love it already. the stick placement is obviously to avoid a chat in court with ms. if you pick up a 360 pad and imagine the second stick on the top…it´s not as good as the 360 placement but not that bad either. some of the features announced are interesting. in the end, well, it´s all about the games anyway. aaannnd good pricing of course.

    #76 3 years ago
  77. DrDamn

    @66
    Very, very 360 controller like. Surprised that hasn’t been mentioned much here, even down to the bumpers. The 360 design is one of the best so it’s largely a good thing, though wonder if they will switch round the ABXY config for a Western release.

    #77 3 years ago
  78. Da Man

    Oh well, at least the left analog stick is properly placed.

    #78 3 years ago
  79. Telepathic.Geometry

    FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

    #79 3 years ago
  80. ManuOtaku

    Why they ditch the preassure trigers from the gamecube era?, that controller was amazing because of this, why then ditch it?, dont get me wrong i like the desing but those trigers are nothing compare with the gamecube ones.

    #80 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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