Iwata made a special pre-recorded appearance to showoff new and improved features off the Wii U device. The Nintendo Direct event focused on the various features of the Wii U native OS features and the idealogoy behind the device. Iwata was on hand to talk about Nintendo’s own social network, called Mii Verse, the Wii U Pro Controller, video chatting between Wii U devices, and new buttons on the gamepad.
Iwata opened up the video by showing a photo of Joe Everyman’s living room where the entire family is mesmerizied by an electronic device. “One of the challenges we created for ourselves was to unite people rather than divide,” Iwata said. That mentality of bringing people together would be the driving force behind this video as many of the features shown in this telecast were social-based.
Iwata discussed some of the new features of the Wii U gamepad. The circle pads on the gamepad were removed and replaced with proper clickable joysticks. They look similiar to the ones found on the Wii nunchuk attachment. The layout of the buttons on the gamepad shifted slightly to maximize comfort, and two new buttons were added: the NFC sensor and the TV button. The NFC sensor is exactly what it sounds like, a chip that allows the Wii U tablet to interact with specific items. Similar to the way Skylanders work.
The TV button turns the Wii U gamepad into a IR remote for your television. It’s a clever way to integrate the Wii U into the living room and give users a reason to touch it besides gaming.
Iwata then reminded viewers about the ability to stream what’s on the TV screen to the Wii U gamepad without delay. That’s alleged 1:1 streaming right to the gamepad from the console.
For those that prefer a classic controller, Nintendo is manufacturing a Wii U Pro Controller that has the same buttons as the Wii U gamepad, sans screen. The console will also be backwards compatible with the Wii remote, nunchuk, and the balance board.
After finishing the new features on the Wii U gamepad, Iwata shifted the focus back to the OS features. “Many Wii games were single player, but most memorable are when people played together,” Iwata said before unveiling a new messaging features. Wiiverse is the name of Nintendo’s OS messaging and communication network. It will allow users to post status updates, screenshots, and messages about a game in real time. Users will be able to respond to messages, check messages on mobile devices, and “like” messages.
In the video, one user was stuck fighting a zombie. He posted a message of distress in Miiverse and soon found an answer from another user. The answer was vague so the distressed player simply dialed up a stranger for a video chat through the Wii U gamepad. Yes, video chatting seems to be a capability.
Since Miiverse is built into the system at the OS level, developers can integrate messages and community into their games. One example shown was of someone playing Mario, but dies near the flagpole. Upon death a couple of messages pop up on the screen saying things like, “I die here all the time,” and tips on completing the segment. Basically, this features turns any game into Dark Souls. Random messages, hints, and tips can be strewn about the world making even single player games a a multiplayer experience.
Miiverse will soon be available on the 3DS, PC, and mobile devices with web capabilities.
Iwata ended the transmission by saying, “Six years ago we introdued a new form of together. Wii U is together, better.” Expect more from Nintendo during their press conference at E3 on Tuesday.