First glance at the new Wii U controller
Wii U? Wii Me. Well it’s pronounced (Wii-Yoo), and it’s the first peek at the impressive new hardware going along with Nintendo’s new Wii U game system. The console is not nearly as impressive looking as the controller, but this bad boy above clearly makes up for it. Looks like we have a nice view screen for ‘game inventory’ type stuff along with the regular buttons and whatnots. Wonder if we will be able to play mini games on it too? Who knows, maybe even with the console powered off. More on this as we get it!
E3 UPDATE: June 08, 2011
(Gamespot) – As with the Wii, the controller is the heart of the Wii U. And it’s large–think somewhat smaller than an iPad and considerably bigger than the original Sony PSP. The reps on hand noted that the controller was designed to offer a new way for players to interact with the console, games, and other players. They understood that, much like the first time we saw the Wii Remote, the only way to really understand was to show us.
On the face of the controller you’ll find a 6.2-inch touch screen (Nintendo declined to say whether it was multitouch capable). A stylus slides out of the controller for use on the touch screen (which makes us think it’s based on resistive touch technology). During the E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo showed the stylus being used for fairly complex sketching, which shows us how detailed the touch screen will be. The matte screen has great viewing angles and offers vivid colors and brightness, making it ideal for use by two people at the same time at very off angles. The pixel density seems to be high enough to put it on par with modern smartphones. Nintendo stated that it’s not high definition, but the resolution appears to be substantially higher than the 3DS screen. We’re guessing the screen is under 1280×720 and above 640×480.
Nintendo eschewed a complex controller with the Wii by limiting the number of buttons. By contrast, the Wii U controller practically bristles with them. Two circle pads, similar to those found on the portable Nintendo 3DS, flank either side of the screen. A D pad resides on the left; A, B, X, and Y buttons are on the right; two shoulder buttons are on the top; two trigger-like buttons are on the bottom; and the usual array of start, select, and home buttons line the bottom. But it doesn’t end there.
Like the Wii, the Wii U controller also features motion controls that should be on par with the Wii MotionPlus. Although you won’t be using it like a Wii Remote, as its bulk and unwieldiness prevent it from mimicking sports equipment like bats and rackets.
A front-facing camera sits at the top of the controller, ostensibly for use in taking pictures and possibly for augmented-reality capabilities. At its E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo revealed that the controller will have video chat capabilities. Built-in speakers also play back sound, and the controller also features a headphone jack.
The controller is capable of playing games even if the TV is being used at the moment for something else, like watching shows. It’s portable in a sense, but only within wireless reach of the main console, because all of the controller’s visuals are generated by the console and then streamed to the controller.
One of the key features of Wii U is its backward compatibility with Wii controllers (remotes, nunchuks, and more). Many of the cases we saw involved anywhere from two to four remotes, with and without nunchuks, and one player on the Wii U controller. Players on Wii Remotes would generally get split-screen gameplay on the TV, while the player on the Wii U controller would primarily use the screen on the controller. Most of the games we saw would give the player on the Wii U controller extra information, or an entirely different perspective paired with vastly different controls. In general, the player with the Wii U controller was pit against the players with Wii Remotes.