In the half-hour video, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata ran through several prominent features of the company's upcoming console, the Wii U. You can watch the video for complete details of everything he announced, but here are the main details:
- The Wii U's tablet controller is officially called the Wii U GamePad. It's got clickable analog control sticks (rather than the sliding pads that were originally revealed last year), a front-facing camera, and all the usual buttons, along with a couple of extra features: a TV control button that allows the Gamepad to double as a remote control, and near-field communication, which will allow the Gamepad to scan objects nearby. As some have noted, this latter feature could potentially be the system's biggest selling point, particularly if you're a fan of Skylanders/Pokemon-style collecting games.
- People who prefer more traditional controllers will have the option of picking up a Wii U Pro Controller, which will feel awfully familiar for anyone used to XBox 360 controls.
- After years of lagging behind Sony and Microsoft in the online space, Nintendo seems to have come around in a big way with the "Miiverse". It's essentially a vastly expanded version of the Wii's Mii Plaza feature: when you start up the system, you'll see a home screen that shows what all your online friends are playing. From there, you'll be able to send messages and images to other players (as well as hand-written notes and drawings, using the GamePad's stylus). Intriguingly, this feature will allow for Demon Souls-style note-leaving for all games. In addition, the Miiverse will not only be accessible from other Nintendo products (that is, the 3DS), but also from Android and iOS devices.
- It comes in black.
While no games were officially announced, some eagle-eyed viewers noticed that video of the system playing games includes footage from a new Super Mario Bros. game (as well as a possible Trophies/Achievements-style system). You can be sure that there will be more details about that -- along with other Wii U launch games -- at Nintendo's E3 presentation tomorrow.
While the presentation is drawing mixed reviews (because what would system reveals be without a reaction that's equal parts hypercritical and rapturous?), Nintendo surely has to be pleased with one bit of news to come out after the event: their stock went up 0.2%. That's not a drastic increase, obviously, but considering that prices for the company's share price have fallen by half since the Wii U's initial announcement last June, and that they posted their first-ever annual loss in April, it's still reason for Nintendo to celebrate (albeit in a very, very, very subdued fashion).