Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Assault on E3 2011: Nintendo Announces the WiiU

At this year's E3 Nintendo just kind of, sort of announced their new console: the WiiU. Supposedly this machine is a successor to the Nintendo Wii (missed nostalgia opportunity to call it the Super Nintendo Wii), but the focus of the conference was placed primarily on the new controller. This new device is a pad with two joy sticks, looking like a beefed up Playstation Vita that Sony showed off just a night prior. In what seems to be an attempt to fire back at Apple's dominance over the non-gaming electronic market, the new controller will also be a touch pad. What is really mind blowing, according to Nintendo representatives, is that the actual console can be playing some other form of media while the controller itself runs an actual WiiU game. Nintendo did not explain how this works, though I would have to guess that the two devices still need to be within some range of one another otherwise the 3DS seems to have become a bit more irrelevant (despite the announcements of a great slate of games earlier in the press conference).

What I was most impressed with was Nintendo's ability to make me ask questions, to become curious. Regardless of what the WiiU turns out to be, EA higher ups have touted that it will finally have an "open online community" that hopefully negates friend codes, I want to know what it is and I want to get my hands on the product. Since the console itself was not showcased at the press conference, and no price was announced, my guess would be that the 2012 window they are setting for its launch will happen around holiday worldwide, but that is complete speculation on my part. I'm sure as E3 continues and more members of the press get a hands on with the controller we will learn more -Reggie Fils-Aime, just seconds ago, confirmed that the WiiU will put out a 1080p signal, but right now I'm mostly just baffled that I am both surprised and excited for a new Nintendo product after being stung by the Wii in the past.

Here's what I'm interested in, friends: what do you expect from the WiiU? What would make it a successful console in your eyes?

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