Nintendo showed off its next-generation Wii U console at the E3 Expo in Las Angeles. Coming in 2012, this new console will finally deliver 1080p HD graphics thanks to a new 45nm custom chip from IBM with lots of embedded DRAM and a yet unknown graphics processor. The Wii's successor is expected to rival the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in terms of performance, and reportedly features integrated flash memory (capacity still unknown), a disc reader, a SD memory card reader and four USB 2.0 ports.
The Wii U will be compatible with all current-gen accessories and software, there's support for the Wii Remote but the preferred controller will be a new controller with a 6.2" touchscreen! This tablet-like controller features a front-facing camera, a gyroscope, accelerometer, dual-analog controllers, two shoulder buttons, two triggers, and a microphone. Interestingly, the Wii U's controller can be used to game and video chat even without a TV screen, but Nintendo stresses that it can't be used as an independent portable gaming machine. More info in the press release below.
At the E3 Expo, Nintendo introduced a new paradigm for video games and home entertainment: Wii U™, a new console that includes a controller with a 6.2-inch screen. Adding a second screen to the living room creates a multitude of new video game experiences while offering families a variety of options to customize their entertainment.
"Wii U redefines the structure of home entertainment by fundamentally changing how the TV, the game console and the Internet function and interact together"
Previously, video games played on a home console have been confined to the TV and offered identical viewpoints to each player in a multiplayer environment. Furthermore, watching TV and playing console games have been completely separate experiences. The new controller removes these boundaries, creating a more dynamic and fluid gaming and entertainment experience. Visitors to the E3 Expo will see firsthand the type of gaming experiences made possible by Wii U and the new controller such as:
In single-player games:
The new controller can display information on its screen that does not appear on the TV.
The information and viewpoint can also change in the new controller based on the orientation of its gyroscope.
In multiplayer games:
The player using the new controller can have a different experience than those looking at the TV. This will offer a wide variety of competitive and cooperative opportunities.
In addition to the 6.2-inch screen, the new controller also features an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, an inward-facing camera, a microphone and speakers. Adding these features to the Classic Controller™ button scheme – two analog Circle Pads, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons – will enable a breadth of game-play experiences while appealing to both casual and dedicated video game players.
Wii U combines motion-sensing game play with the ability to support full HD graphics. Each Wii U console will be partnered with a new controller and can also use up to four additional Wii Remote™ or Wii Remote Plus controllers. The system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories. The Wii console has sold more than 86 million units globally and greatly expanded the overall audience for video games. Wii U aims to expand that audience even further. Developers worldwide are already working on new games and experiences for the console.
"Wii U redefines the structure of home entertainment by fundamentally changing how the TV, the game console and the Internet function and interact together," said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. "The experience enabled by Wii U and the new controller takes players deeper into their games, while reaching out wider than ever before to be inviting to all kinds of gamers."
Nintendo 3DS™, which lets users see 3D images without the need for special glasses, launched in the United States on March 27 and continues to evolve. Owners will find that their Nintendo 3DS experience is different every time they pick up the system, thanks to new content and updates delivered by Nintendo, by third parties and exchanged between users.
A new system update is now available for the Nintendo 3DS system. Users who connect to a wireless broadband Internet connection and install the system update will instantly gain access to the Nintendo eShop, which contains a variety of games and applications for download using a cash-based system.
Users can browse original 3D software, 3D Classics (select classic video games re-mastered in 3D), classic Game Boy™ and Game Boy Color games, and more than 350 games and applications currently offered for the Nintendo DSiWare™ service. Visitors can also see videos and screen shots for games, plus see how other players rank games.
The system update also provides Nintendo 3DS owners access to free items, including an Internet browser that can show 3D images on sites specifically designed to show 3D images, a download of a re-mastered 3D version of the NES™ classic Excitebike™ game (free until July 7) and Pokédex™ 3D, which lets users discover and view more than 150 Pokémon™ from the Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version games in visually engaging 3D.
Nintendo also announced a huge lineup of upcoming new and fan-favorite franchise games, many of which are playable on the E3 Expo show floor in booth 4922.
Nintendo 3DS: Super Mario™, Luigi's Mansion™ 2, Mario Kart™, Kid Icarus™: Uprising, The Legend of Zelda™: Ocarina of Time™ 3D, Star Fox 64™ 3D, Animal Crossing™, Paper Mario™, Picture Lives!, The Rolling Western™.
Wii: The Legend of Zelda™: Skyward Sword, Kirby™ Wii, Wii Play™: Motion, Mystery Case Files™: The Malgrave Incident™, Mario Party™ 9, Rhythm Heaven™ and Fortune Street™.
Nintendo DS™: Kirby™ Mass Attack, Professor Layton and the Last Specter™, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker™ 2 and Super Fossil Fighters™.
Nintendo kicked off its E3 Expo Presentation by announcing a number of initiatives to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. A re-mastered 3D version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time launches for Nintendo 3DS on June 19, while Wii owners will see the arrival of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in the 2011 holiday season. Additionally, Nintendo announced a tour of orchestral concerts featuring music from the beloved franchise. Additional commemorative activities will be announced at a later date.
For the duration of the E3 Expo, Nintendo will provide fans with exclusive videos and Nintendo content on the Nintendo Network. People can visit http://e3.nintendo.com to watch developer interviews, get all the information about new games and see coverage coming directly from the show floor. The same exclusive content also will be streamed through the Nintendo® Channel to Wii owners who have a broadband Internet connection.