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It’s now six years since the Wii’s arrival in the US market, and Nintendo sees it’s time for change. But their competitors, Sony and Microsoft, already breached the HD field in these past few years and they are now looking into expanding further with their Next Gen systems. Will the Wii U stand the trials ahead, or will Nintendo fall into obscurity?
Before deciding the fate of Nintendo, it’s important to look at what information Nintendo released for their next big push in the home console. At E3 on Tuesday June 5th, Nintendo held their Press Conference, pushing the Wii U as well as some of their title games such as New Super Mario Bros U, Nintendo Land, and Pikmin 3 which will be released along with the system this winter. At the conference, Nintendo also released selected details regarding the Wii U ranging from what fans can expect and to details about the new controller.
One of the first announcements from Nintendo of America’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Reggie Fils-Aime, was the clarification that the Wii U will support two Wii U Game Pads along with four Wii-mote plus, nunchucks, and classic controllers. As for the Game Pad, features included are, a touch screen that can be used with either the player’s fingers or a stylus, four face buttons, dual analog sticks, motion gyroscope, rumble feature, headphone jack, camera, mic, speakers, volume control (used for both the Game Pad and T.V.), and a home button for menu navigation and for the social network.
Other features offered for the Game Pad are access to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Video. The device is also supposed to be able to function as a universal T.V. remote. The biggest feature that is offered for the Game Pad, is the option to play most of Wii U’s games directly on the Game Pad, which gives the option for gamers to play their Wii U games even if the television is occupied.
As for features on the Wii U, the underlying focus of the system is Social Interaction. Upon turning on the Wii U, gamers are dropped into the main hub of their Wii U Menu, which is currently known as Main Street. In the main menu, the gamer’s Miis are dropped in an open environment with Miis from other players all while roaming around in a social network Nintendo calls the Miiverse.
The Miiverse is the peak of Nintendo’s social interaction where gamers can communicate with each other by means of texting or pictochat. The Miiverse also gives gamers the ability to post status updates, high scores, add game hints to help others through more challenging situations in a particular game (similar to that found in ATLUS’ Demon’s Souls), as well as the option to jump right into a game that has already started. The Miiverse is also announced to be available on the 3DS as well as other mobile devices at a later date.
But the biggest push Nintendo was offering with the Wii U was the Asymmetric gameplay. Since the Wii U gives gamers the option of using the Game Pad or the Wiimotes, this gives gamers the option to have up to five players on the same system (four on the Wiimotes and one on the Game Pad). This was not described much in detail, but continuously brought up, and it became clear by what Nintendo meant with Asymmetric gameplay. In some games, as players use the Wiimotes, the person playing with the Game Pad generally has a special role. In New Super Mario Bros. U, the player with the Game Pad has the option of placing blocks to assist other players or to create obstacles.
In Just Dance 4, the player that uses the Game Pad is known as the Puppet Master, in which during a song, the Game Pad user can pick and choose any dance move he desires to make the Wiimote players do, and even has the option to force the dancers to strike a pose and have them hold it until the Puppet Master decides to choose a different move. This Asymmetric gameplay leaves open new options to future games and can greatly increase the gameplay value of games to come.
With these new updates on the Wii U, the anticipation for its winter release is great, but it is a matter of how its sales do that will be the deciding factor if Nintendo can survive the home console market. The Wii U shows great promise and many gamers continue to anticipate other details that can be expected.