At its E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo confirmed some details about the successor to the Wii and even gave its new platform an official name: Wii U. While the name might not suggest much of a difference from Nintendo previous system, the Wii U has some significant upgrades and changes, the most important of which is undoubtedly its new controller. While the Wii U supports all of the Wii's controllers, the controller designed for this new platform is not unlike a tablet. It has a large touch-sensitive 6.2-inch screen in the middle surrounded by a plastic enclosure that features traditional console-style control characteristics, including a D pad, two sets of shoulder buttons, four face buttons, and more. The Wii U is also capable of streaming a video signal to the controller's screen, making it possible to play a Wii U game when the household TV is in use by others.
These are just some of the features of Nintendo's next system. We've compiled everything we know about it into one spot, so you can get caught up on all the latest information revealed at E3 2011.
Wii U: Changing the Way You Play
Of all the questions surrounding Nintendo's successor to the Wii--dubbed the Wii U--there's one drawing more attention than others: How will the games change to properly harness what the Wii U has to offer? This is an especially important question in relation to third-party developers and their games because, historically, third-party developers are less likely to embrace hardware that falls outside the standard development environment for a proper console.
Nintendo Wii U: Inside and Out
Nintendo found lightning in a bottle with the Wii, and with the Wii U--the company's upcoming console--it might have found the bottling plant. The Wii U builds upon the barriers broken by the Wii and takes advantage of a touch-screen-equipped controller that offer players a new way to interact with games paired with a console capable of HD visuals.
Nintendo Wii U Controller Hands-On
Get our thoughts on Nintendo's Wii U controller, and see it from every angle.
More features coming soon.
Wii U Pikmin revealed at Nintendo developer roundtable
Creative mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto confirms long-delayed Wii installment in series has been pushed to new console; Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time 3D, Super Mario 3DS, and Luigi's Mansion 2 demo'd.
Activision supporting Wii U
Activision publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg confirms console support, saying "you bet against Nintendo at your peril."
New Super Smash Bros. game in development
Nintendo announces fresh entry in the brawler series for 3DS and just-announced Wii U; titles promised to work together on both platforms "in some fashion."
Wii U unveiled at Nintendo press conference, Skyward Sword due in Q4
New console will feature 6.2-inch touch-screen controller with a host of features; next Legend of Zelda gets release window; massive third-party support includes THQ, Sega, Tecmo, 2K, EA; 2011 3DS lineup detailed.
Wii U boasts M-rated third-party support
Nintendo confirms Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon Online, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden 3, Darksiders 2, Batman coming to new console; Ubisoft also confirms Rabbids, two new brands en route; Aliens not a lock.
Tekken trio heading to Wii U, 3DS, PS3
Namco's King of the Iron Fist franchise confirmed for Nintendo's latest console as Tekken Hybrid remakes the original Tag Tournament for Sony's system this November.
Ninja Gaiden 3 slicing up early 2012
Blood-splattered sequel gets updated release window; now scheduled to arrive at the beginning of next year.
Chase Mii Preview Hands-On
As of right now, Chase Mii Is just a tech demo. It hasn't been announced as a full-fledged game yet, so don't get your hopes too high for some indoor tag action. But what's here is quite fun and a good showcase for how the Wii U can extend the reach of local competitive games.
New Super Mario Bros. Mii Hands-On Preview
Aside from being in HD, the visuals looked essentially indistinguishable from those of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the levels we got to dash through were challenging, with quickly moving platforms and tricky jumps galore. We had fun with the demo, but we didn't feel that it was a particularly strong showcase for the Wii U's technology, at least at this stage.
The Legend of Zelda Wii U Hands-On Preview
Aside from the streaming technology taking place, what makes this remarkable is the fact that the screen on the tablet is pretty high quality--obviously, it's not on par with the HD resolution being displayed on the TV in front of us, but it was impressive nonetheless and we could easily see ourselves using this feature in the manner Nintendo demonstrated during the conference (switching to the tablet when someone else needs the TV).
Battle Mii Wii U Preview
By moving the tablet down and holding it in a natural position (as you would any normal controller), the camera perspective takes a top-down view, letting the player flying the ship get a more tactical view. Moving the position of the controller in between these points presents any number of different perspectives, and players can ultimately settle on what's most comfortable for them for any situation.
Shield Pose Wii U Hands-On Preview
It's not a great visual demonstration of the Wii U's graphical capabilities, but what makes Shield Pose an interesting demonstration of the Wii U technology is just how the tablet functions as a second screen, not unlike the second screen on Nintendo's DS handheld platforms--only it's completely dynamic, functioning much like a magnifying glass.
More previews coming soon.
Be sure to watch the full video of Nintendo's E3 2011 Press Conference, and skip directly to the 39 minute mark to see the full reveal of the Wii U.
More Wii U movies coming soon.
GameSpot's Wii U Impressions
Giancarlo says: The Wii U controller is absolutely brilliant and The Legend of Zelda tech demo makes me confident in the system's visual capabilities, but one thing has me worried: This whole setup might be a repeat performance of previous Nintendo innovations where the only company that will put forth the effort to design games around the very cool hardware will be Nintendo itself.
Sarju says: I'm loving all the control options that the controller has: dual circle pads, four shoulder buttons, a touch screen, and motion controls. Sign me up! Aiming with the controller was dead simple in the Metroid-like shooter. The screen on the controller is also very crisp. It's way beyond what's offered on the Nintendo 3DS, and it's easily on par with something like the iPhone 4. I'm also really digging the concept of playing without having to look at the TV at all, both in single-player and multiplayer modes. I realize there's nothing but positivity flowing from these words, but the sheer array of solid experiences at E3 2011 lend credence to them.
Carolyn says: The first thing that struck me about the Wii U tablet controller was its weight. By the look of it, I was expecting it to feel like something I might not want to hold for 15 or 20 minutes at a stretch, much less several hours of marathon gaming. But in fact, it's exceptionally light, and I found it comfortable to hold as well, with my fingers naturally resting right on the rear triggers. The big question for me remains: How can the tablet controller result in better, richer single-player experiences? But I've had enough fun with the Wii U to encourage me to keep an open mind, for the moment.
Chris says: Despite the baffling name and the dearth of actual games, I am very intrigued by the Wii U. The multiplayer mayhem of Chase Mii was a lot of frantic fun, and the controller is pleasantly light, with a vivid screen. Though it was short, the high-definition Legend of Zelda scene flexed Wii U's visual processing power to great effect. The dynamic lighting, impressive detail, and great animation brought the strong Zelda art design to a whole new level, foreshadowing a future adventure that I can't wait to take.
Randolph says: Potential. That's what I can see in Nintendo's new console right now. None of the "experiences" Nintendo had set up for the Wii U at E3 2011 blew me away (well, Chase Mii was fun), but I still see the awesome possibility inherent in that feature-packed controller. And despite what you may think, the controller itself felt quite good to hold. Will it be comfortable for long play sessions on the couch? Absolutely. Will developers over reach and try to do too much with the touchscreen, forcing you to switch your hands often? Probably. You haven't quite sold me on the Wii U yet, Nintendo, but I am interested. Very interested.
More Wii U impressions coming soon.