While E3 doesn't open it's doors properly until tomorrow, Nintendo decided to unleash some major details on the gaming press in a pre-E3 show which focuses on the "vision of the Wii U". Satoru Iwata took to the stage and detailed some interesting tidbits for their upcoming console launch.
Nintendo have changed up the Wii U main controller a fair bit since the company last showed a prototype of the device. Officially dubbed the 'Wii U GamePad', the controller itself has a number of changes including a change from circle pads to larger, and clickable, analog sticks. The layout has been jigged around a bit, most likely in the interest of ergonomics.
The controller also features a TV control button and it can be used as a fully-fledged independent remote for your television, utilising the touchscreen for controls. Also on the GamePad is a NFC reader/writer that has a number of applications, to which the imagination is the limit for developers. Gyros and motion sensors also feature in the Game Pad. The Wii U, as previously mentioned, is compatible with every Wiimote, nunchuck and Balance Board that currently exists.
The big N have also unveiled a very Xbox-inspired Pro controller, garbed in black and features twin analogue sticks and a host of buttons in similar positions to the 360's venerable pad.
Whilst these details have been announced, there are also questions of whether or not the Wii U will be launching in any other color apart from white. During the presentation, there were sightings of a black Wii U Game Pad and console, so it would seem likely that Nintendo is launching the console in other colors.
But it's worth nothing that the original Wii reveal showcased the design in a multitude of colors and it wasn't until later in the lifespan of the console that a black version was available to consumers. Keep your eyes peeled.
Iwata also announced Miiverse today, a "Mii universe" for the Wii U, which seems to be a much expanded version of the Wii's Mii Plaza feature. Named in a logical fashion, the Miiverse is an online system for the new system that displays a plaza of sorts on the Game Pad's touch screen and will show various Mii characters gathered around game icons and also includes a messaging system.
It also includes a "spoiler" function to prevent players from learning important aspects of games from other people and also lets players send images and drawings to each other in a Facebook-esque "wall" system. Miiverse will also take over the 3DS and mobile devices in the future.
So far, with what Iwata has shown us, the promising Wii U has taken the Wii formula and maxed it up to 11, and it looks to be a stellar show for Nintendo. With the big N being the only company known to be pushing out new hardware at this year's E3, maybe they can steal the show away when it comes to actual hands-on impressions. But of course, we'll just have to wait and see though. Stay tuned for Tuesday's Nintendo conference.