Wii U GamePad, online features revealed

E3 2012: Satoru Iwata shows off the Wii U's redesigned tablet controller, video chat, and social interactivity functions at pre-E3 presentation.

What's the skinny?
--The rumors of a redesigned Wii U GamePad are true! Analog sticks instead of circle pads, and a few other changes to boot.
--The Wii U Pro Controller will give traditional gamers a pad more like what they're used to.
--The Wii U will have new social features, like being able to video chat with other players through the controller, or looking to the community for answers to game questions.
--The dashboard will be called the Miiverse, and more details about the Wii U's online features were revealed.

The full blow-by-blow:

LOS ANGELES--Nintendo was already planning to have the last of the major Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefings with its Tuesday morning event at the Nokia Theater, but the Wii U maker is actually going to bookend the conference with a pre-E3 show today.

Touch the future! Go on, touch it!

The company's Nintendo Direct site is promoting a presentation from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata in which the executive doles out new information about the Wii U. Follow along with the GameSpot liveblog below to find out just what Nintendo has up its sleeve.

[2:56] We aren't the only ones waiting for Iwata to kick off this presentation. There are more than 36,000 people hanging on the Nintendo Direct stream right now.

[3:01] Iwata greets the audience, and explains a Japanese slogan that the company has used as its guidance. It means "creating something unique."

[3:01] Iwata said he hopes people will think "That is certainly unique" several times as they watch Nintendo's E3 unfold this week.

[3:02] Iwata said the company will focus almost entirely on Wii U games at the Nintendo briefing, so today is more about the system and the controller.

[3:03] He talked about the book Alone Together, saying that new technologies have made life easier and more efficient, but suggests it is changing the nature of human relationships.

[3:03] One of the challenges Nintendo set for itself was to make something that would unite people rather than divide them, whether in the same room or distances apart.

[3:04] He shows off the Wii U GamePad, the system's tablet controller.

[3:05] The GamePad now features two stick-type devices instead of the 3DS-like circle pads.

[3:05] Iwata said that format with circle pads was more appropriate for portable devices where players need a low profile for the hardware. The sticks on the new GamePad can also be pushed in as a button.

[3:06] There's also a little mark on the left of the screen, which is where the near-field communications interface is.

The redesigned Wii U tablet controller

[3:06] NFC is the technology used for Skylanders. In addition, the Wii U is an independent infrared TV remote.

[3:07] Iwata said many people are used to having two screens with the DS, but with the Wii U, the relation is more dynamic because the relationship between the two isn't fixed.

[3:08] He also touts "asymmetric diversity" implications of having different screens with different abilities for different players.

[3:08] The two screens can work together in unprecedented ways, he said. The GamePad also senses movement with motion and gyro sensors.

[3:08] By using more intuitive motions to control a game, players of all skill levels can better play together.

[3:09] All of this is enhanced because of the improved graphics processing power of the hardware, Iwata said, something people will recognize better during Nintendo's proper E3 presentation.

[3:10] Iwata said players will be able to continue playing on the GamePad when the TV screen is being used for something else.

[3:10] In any of these situations, Iwata said players will see high-quality graphics on the TV, and those images will be displayed on the GamePad without delay, "something no existing handheld game devices can do."

[3:11] Nintendo will also offer the Wii U Pro Controller for more traditional control methods.

[3:11] "Some people will wonder if Wii U is a simple evolution of Wii or something entirely different. I think maybe the correct answer is both."

[3:12] Iwata said the most memorable experiences with the Wii came when people play together. Wii U does what the Wii did only better, but also something entirely new.

The new Wii U Pro Controller!

[3:12] He stresses that it connects people remotely in a much more compelling way, and he says he'll show an example.

[3:13] He intros a clip with some gamer talking about serving zombies a bullet sandwich.

[3:14] He gets eaten by the zombie boss, and then the GamePad asks him what his mood is. He picks a picture of a sad face from a list, and then checks posts from a number of other people who have been having problems beating the boss.

[3:14] His friend calls him to offer help, but then another online player helps him figure it out.

[3:15] He's told to use the "scanner" to locate pockets of swollen glands on the zombie. It doesn't work. Then he says he's going to call OctoG123 to get help.

A shot from Nintendo's Wii U zombie video.

[3:16] He connects the GamePad to a cradle and then calls his grandfather (OctoG123) for a video chat about the game.

[3:16] He tries it again and beats the zombie boss.

[3:16] The clip ends with the slogan "Together Wii U" on the screen.

[3:17] "I think you may agree that was a little different," Iwata says. "I hope you liked it."

[3:17] Now he's talking about the Wii U menu people see when they power it on. The developers have been calling it Mii Wara Wara.

[3:18] Roughly translated, "Wara Wara" refers to the commotion caused by a crowd.

The screen you'll see when the Wii U boots up.

[3:18] The Mii Wara Wara will feature your Mii, your friends' Miis, and Miis of players currently playing in your country.

[3:19] The GamePad will show a familiar lineup of games and applications, but the TV screen will show a bunch of games and the Miis of people playing those games at that moment.

[3:20] The result (Miiverse, Iwata calls it) will show people which games are popular right now. He explains that Miiverse is a combination of "Mii" and "Universe," just in case that wasn't understood.

Get it? Miiverse!

[3:21] Communication between Miis can happen with simple text messages, but players can also write with their hands.

[3:21] Iwata said he has problems reading the channel guide from across the room, but handwritten notes and doodles can be easier to read.

[3:22] Miiverse also lets players select a facial expression for their Mii to have next to their message.

[3:22] All of these Miiverse features are native to the platform and can be accessed from all Wii U games directly from the home button.

[3:23] Developers will also be able to incorporate Wiiverse features in their games if they choose. Iwata said Nintendo will work to prevent spoilers in Wiiverse, but they want to create "a new degree of empathy between players."

[3:23] The small screen on the Wii U GamePad is a "Social Window" capable of linking players to one another, Iwata said.

[3:24] In Miiverse, even in a single-player game, Iwata said the system can connect players with each other, "regardless of space or time."

[3:24] The key components of Miiverse are browser-based, so eventually those features will be available from the 3DS, the PC, or any Web-enabled mobile device.

[3:25] The social elements of Miiverse are also designed to work with future Nintendo devices, Iwata said. (Start the Wii U Too rumors now!)

[3:26] The Wii U GamePad makes the connections between players and devices richer, Iwata said, because the GamePad screen can perform functions independent of the Wii U itself. There's an Internet browser that lets players share what they're looking at with what other people in the living room can see on the TV.

[3:27] While the browsing normally is seen on both the TV screen and the GamePad, users can have curtains close over the TV screen so that they can unveil whatever it is they're looking at with some fanfare.

Here's the Wii U Internet browser!

[3:28] The GamePad is an idea that has the potential to solve several problems that the Wii U was created to address, Iwata said. It enables more smiling, more laughs, and more empathy and gets around the problem of "Alone Together."

[3:28] "Together. Better."

[3:29] Even with nobody else in the room, Iwata said players won't feel alone.

[3:29] "We hope when you experience it firsthand, you will agree it represents the creation of something unique."

[3:30] Don't worry about the 3DS, Iwata said, because Nintendo has plenty of news to share "at other upcoming opportunities."

[3:30] Tuesday's media briefing will feature concrete examples of game experiences players have never had before, Iwata said. He then bows, and that's the end of the show!

Written By

Want the latest news about Wii U?

Wii U

Wii U

Discussion

1265 comments
hardvectorman
hardvectorman

I think i mite have to give it a try I like someting new Nintendo.

kca89
kca89

I'll keep my eye on the Wii U. I definitely won't rush to buy it like I did with the Wii. Hopefully the Wii U has some sort of party system so that I can chat with friends or random people online because nowadays that should be a standard feature IMO.

RitsukoEX
RitsukoEX

Nothing have been said about the specs and price?!

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Pro controller is an excellent idea for making ports easier,and giving the less imaginative gamers their "normal" gaming experience, but having the Gamepad is excellent for making Nintendo versions of games unique. Superb way to capitalize on both markets. And let's hope Miiverse offers us something akin to PSN and XBL. Connecting over Wii U,3DS,PC,tablet,and smartphone? Yes please!

 

I'm loving the possibilities. Keep on thinking outside the box Nintendo!

Nzilla
Nzilla

You have to admit the pro controller will make ports a LOT easier.  That's good for 3rd party developers which hopefully will be more likely to put their games on the Wii U.  I hope to see more 3rd party friendly features from this system.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Wow! I didn't think Nintendo would blatantly copy the Xbox 360 controller like that. Everything is identical except the 4-face buttons are moved slightly  towards the center more on the wii U controller.

juboner
juboner

what if they made a game like zelda where u could use tablet or pro controller with the menu on the tv for pro controller. nah they wouldnt do that would they tablet would not be that big of deal then.

Flint247
Flint247

I am mostly excited for the Tablet controller. Sure, it fun having a standard controller, but for me, it is time for something different. I will sure have fun with this kind of controller.

Flint247
Flint247

I am excited for the Wii U!

digi-demon
digi-demon

WiiU - will I be able to transfer my VC games/software over from Wii?

Btw, comment No.1260 - there.... done it :P

Freezezzy
Freezezzy

As interesting as the Tablet controller looks and sounds, part of me wishes that they'd ditch it and just make the Pro controller the standard for the console.

Lord_Regnier
Lord_Regnier

It's just amazing how they continue to innovate cannot wait for full N conf. Very psyched for the Wii U :D

 

 

 

hitechgraphs
hitechgraphs

Oh almost forget what about the console,we have to wait for the conference for details.

hitechgraphs
hitechgraphs

Well at last the wiiu pro controller seems playable, what about a package with a wiiu standard and a pro controller I would only pick a pro package.The wii u is only a fashionable gadget that something really innovative.

Raeldor
Raeldor

Anyone know if e-reader or disconnected (from console) apps such as YouTube, Netflix or web browing will be available?

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Hmm i am actually fairly impressed with the new controller pro.Well done on that design.How you implement it may decide if i choose to look at you seriously Nintendo.

 

Until then you are still the butt of many of my jokes.

 

Oh and get some freakin new IPs.

KaonGheta
KaonGheta

I really really want the Wii U to work, and everything almost seems excellent. My only issue is, what the heck am I supposed to use to play?? They have this tablet controller that apparently can only be for 1 player, they said the console will still be mostly using Wiimote controllers, and now this Wii U Pro controller. If everything uses different controllers or I have to use different controls from everyone else playing at my house with me, it's too scrambled, unfocused and confusing. Can't we just have normal controllers like Sony and Microsoft but with screens on them and motion, or stick with only having the tablets with lower quality but for every player?

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

Imma go ahead and get a WiiU seriously. Im just gonna wait about 3-6 months after it comes out

shadowysea07
shadowysea07

hmm i wonder if they will allow ds and such games to be played on the wiiu now?

jhpeter
jhpeter

Can´t wait for the N conference.

drgribb
drgribb

Dat wii u pro controller!  thank you based god!!

TripSolidBounty
TripSolidBounty

Microsoft did a god awful job trying to imitate Wii U's gamepad.

Turbo_Burdo
Turbo_Burdo

CAN WE JUST BE ABLE TO FULLY COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE ONLINE INSTEAD OF PATHETIC FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. THANKS.

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

 @johnson206 That whole thing was really one sided take your sh*t  somewhere else and post that sh*t on ps3 till then find real facts or an argument that supports both sides

OldKye
OldKye

 @Wormkid_64 got to be honest seeing the normal looking controller is the first thing that's made me go "hmm maybe I'll buy that" i love motion controllers, touch pads, motion trackers but as a old school gamer when i want to really get into a game i reach for the controller that I'm so use too and good with i can play it with one hand that's held behind my back.

DoomglooM
DoomglooM

 @Vodoo yeah it is usually the other way around ain't it? haha

joujou264
joujou264

 @Vodoo 1. The ergonomical evolution of gaming controllers might have reached a pinnacle, and this will be the standard shape from now on.

2. This is at least a improvement, the sticks are put, in my opinion, in the best spots imagine able (How did you not notice the stick layout? You don't seem to play on your 360 very much.), and Nintendos D-Pad, again, my opinion, is the best out of the Big 3.

3. It is a upgrade from the Classic Controller Pro, look it up.

 

You seem like the person, that is in most cases against Nintendo. You should rather look at the things MS has copied from Nintendo, so Nintendo deserves to copy from them.

 

P.S. The 360 controller is a rip off, of the Dreamcast controller :P

gamerok123
gamerok123

 @Vodoo I'm guessing they did that because people who are hardcore gamers are comfortable with the Xbox controller and would be easier to use than a new controller with different button locations.

pqwoei
pqwoei

 @Vodoo I guess Nintendo realized that if third party developers are going to release a version of they're game in the Wii U they'll need a controller with 4 face buttons, 4 shoulder buttons and 2 joysticks

gamerok123
gamerok123

 @Sevolich You have every reason to look forward to this totally different console. The Wii U seems to have everything any gamer would be looking for: awesome controller, awesome graphics, lot of games and new ways of gaming. I think that right now Nintendo is the only company that is thinking of new ways to improve the gaming experience.

joujou264
joujou264

 @digi-demon Yes, Nintendo said something regarding that, right now, they are working on a system that allows for saved games, and purchased Wiiware/Virtual Console games, to be transferred to the Wii U.

joujou264
joujou264

 @Freezezzy I rather have it not be like that, because it would mean that console gaming would just be hardware upgrade, after hardware upgrade, after hardware upgrade. Someone has to think out of the box, and explore different ways to play. And that seems to be only Nintendo (Sony/MS just saw the success of motion gaming, and wanted a piece of it. And no, Nintendo did not copy Sony's concept of motion gaming from a lot of years before the Wii, ever heard of the PowerGlove, that was waaaaaay before Sony even thought of motion gaming.) so far.

joujou264
joujou264

 @hitechgraphs But they are the only ones doing something new. Why do you want every one of the Big 3 to just do hardware upgrades every new generation? That's what PC gaming is for.

joujou264
joujou264

 @WolfGrey 1. Rayman Legends has been shown to support it, and I've heard that ZombiU also supports it.

2. Miyamoto is working on a new title.

joujou264
joujou264

 @KaonGheta Khem, let me explain. The GamePad is the main controller, and will probably be a option in every single game. The Wiimotes are going to be used for casual games, and games that benefit from the controller. The Pro controller will probably be implemented in every game, but not now, since the Pro controller has only been shown recently, and it is supposed to be a way to make the jobs of lazy developers to port to the Wii U easier.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

 @KaonGheta lol, I was thinking the same thing; there are currently 3 types of controller choices for the WiiU and your average casual gamer isn't gonna know which one to buy or much less use xD

crazymario1
crazymario1

 @KaonGheta I think they realized that having multiple tablet controllers at the same time wouldn't work because of processing power (and those controllers look like they'd cost a fortune...)

So, they came up with the Wii U Pro Controller so that multiplayer games are possible without using the Wiimote and Nunchuck.

At least that's what I THINK they were going for... I doubt many developers are going to make players revert back to the Wiimote to play Wii U games.

KaonGheta
KaonGheta

Other than that we need to be able to have a HDD to download updates and whatnot. They've claimed Wii U will be a little more powerful than PS3 and 360 and will have a lot of the 3rd party games ported now. If that is the case I would still get them for PS3 if that means they will have updates and DLC.

joujou264
joujou264

 @Dragdar If you mean Iwata, he's not a actor, so he doesn't act like he's in a movie or theater. If you mean the little video in the middle, it was supposed to be cheesy, and funny. How did you not realize that? Was ''Non-Specific Action Figure'' not enough for you?

joujou264
joujou264

 @dawnofhero How? If I was a casual consumer, I would choose the Wiimote, since I would be familiar with it. My frickin Grandpa knows that.

joujou264
joujou264

 @KaonGheta You don't neccesarly need a HDD, since you have multiple options to store data, SD cards, or external USB HDD's, for example. A HDD built in, would just make the costs for the console higher.

It will be 4x as powerful as the 360, since it has a IBM POWER based multi-core processor, and a AMD Radeon HD GPU.

Turbo_Burdo
Turbo_Burdo

 @nini200 Yeah but video chat would be useless - we'd be focused on the game visuals. I want to be able to speak to random online players, these preset messages and facial expressions are an insult to consumers.

professorXzaver
professorXzaver

I wonder how far the video chat works ? like chating in your kitchen while your Wii U is in the living room.

joujou264
joujou264

 @Turbo_Burdo If Nintendo is really serious about the online, then they'll have a voice chat. Oh, wait, I bet it will, remember Wii Speak? For Animal Crossing City Folk I mean, well, I remember it from Monster Hunter Tri, but I bet most people w3ould remember it from AC:CF.