In an unexpected E3 preemptive broadcast before the scheduled E3 preemptive broadcasts, the Nintendo Direct Conference detailed some technical information on the Wii U tablet as well as the company’s new approach to internet connectivity. Promises for further information on the console – and the 3DS – were made for Nintendo’s official press conference tomorrow and during “future opportunities” later in the week.
Since unveiling the Wii U’s tablet controller at last year’s show, Nintendo has made some subtle improvements to the Gamepad, most notably swapping out circle pads for analog sticks and rearranging both the face and start/select buttons for a more ergonomic design. An NFC card reader has been placed on the bottom left hand corner, leading many to suspect the integration of readable objects to be a common feature for the system’s software. A TV button will also allow the tablet to function as an independent universal remote of sorts. In addition to the evolved tablet design, a more typically designed Pro Controller was also announced, for a “more traditional means of control”.
The Big N also debuted the Miiverse, a social network integrated into the console framework allowing for constant user interaction within the home menu (where Mii are grouped around floating game icons relevant to their discussions) and in the background of specific software: like commentary blurbs hovering about specific levels in New Super Mario Bros. 2. The console-specific internet browsing capabilities were also addressed, with the tablet able to share data between itself and connected televisions (even adding optional theatrical effects like a moving stage curtain). Miiverse will be available at launch for the Wii U, and will be brought to the 3DS, PC and internet-enabled mobile phones at a later date.
With all these technical details out of the way, expect Nintendo’s presser tomorrow to focus – like last year – almost entirely on both console and handheld software.
Be sure to check back with Elder Geek tomorrow for the Conference Summary, and all this week for the relevant news and announcements from the show floor!