Nintendo is Coming to a Miiverse Near You
As announced yesterday, Nintendo today broadcast their Pre-E3 2012 briefing on their upcoming Wii U console. The presentation focused on the unique elements of the hardware and services the new system will revolve around rather than dealing with outright specs. Several interesting ideas were revealed. You can watch the video for yourself right here, and follow us after the break for some thoughts on Nintendo’s new revelations.
Some of the more interesting tidbits to come out of Nintendo’s reveal today include their philosophy about evolving the future of social interaction around games. The Wii U was designed around the idea of bringing people “Together, even when apart.” The new Miiverse online service, a part of the Nintendo Network, is driven by the idea of bringing players together into communities. These communities are most obviously focused around games, where they show a Wii U Gamepad displaying a revamped Mii Plaza. Rather than just a hub for random Mii characters to mill about, instead it consists of both live and offline Mii characters of both friends and strangers, who group in communities focused on games–whether they’re games you own or not.
In terms of the hardware, the marker below the D-Pad on the revised controller is for NFC connectivity. According to Iwata, the NFC marker allows both read and write access to other NFC enabled…thingies. If you’ve seen the Ubisoft Wii U video, you’ll already know how this works.
The square button recently revealed in the leak of the revised gamepad has a feature much more interesting than anyone speculated. Press it, and poof, the pad launches remote software for controlling your TV through the pad’s infrared port. They unfortunately didn’t go into detail about how deep this rabbit hole goes, but if they work it right I could see this becoming a replacement for many a Logitech Harmony remote. Will Nintendo go that far? I have no idea, but I sure hope so.
Nintendo went on to spend a few minutes talking about the visions to the gamepad since last year’s prototype model, but it was all the usual stuff you’d expect to hear: changed for comfort, yada yada yada.
All in all we learned a lot of conceptual stuff about how Nintendo’s approaching the system’s design, and the software/hardware approach geared toward community building. It’s definitely their most ambitious online effort yet, and if their big gamble pays off we may just see another significant shift in the games industry. Just from the video it looks like they’ve made some pretty serious effort at taking some of the best features of smartphones, tablets and games devices, and integrating them all together for new effect.
Can’t wait for Tuesday’s press conference!