Nintendo Direct Round-Up – GamePad, Miiverse, Wii U Pro Controller & More!

Only moments ago, Satoru Iwata finished his Nintendo Direct online conference to the world, addressing some new features of the upcoming Wii U console. If you are still left feeling a bit overwhelmed and need a refresher, or maybe you didn’t catch any of the show then help is at hand. Nintendo Scene is here with a running blog which depicts this evening’s major events. Enjoy!

23:00  Here we go…!

23:05  Iwata starts off his presentation by explaining the slight re-design of the Wii U’s controller, now dubbed ‘GamePad’, including such changes as the movement of the D-Pad to exactly underneath the thumb-stick. The back of the Wii U controller has also been slightly adapted. He explains that the thumb-sticks can move 360 degrees and also work as a button by pressing in.

23:06  There is also a ‘NFC’ Reader/Writer which enables players to access data stored on a ‘Smart Tag’, technology which is already implemented into some smart-phones. Iwata also points out a button which allows users to turn the console on and off, and go back to watching TV from the GamePad itself.

23:07  He then goes on to talk about the asymmetric diversity in gameplay, how both the TV screen and controller screen interact with one another, yet can display different things at the same times – something we have already seen in trailers at last E3.

23:08  The Wii U controller uses motion sensors and gyro control, just like your 3DS.

23:09  Iwata stresses the fluid high-quality gameplay and display on the GamePad when you switch from the main TV screen to playing on the controller. However, it seems as though this is only possible with “more casual games” – something which should be cleared up during the E3 conference.

23:10  A new peripheral is introduced to us – the Wii U Pro controller. Reminiscent somewhat of an Xbox 360 controller…? Which can only be a good thing as 360 controllers are super comfy.

23:12  A slightly questionable video starts, illustrating the Wii U’s focus on connecting people both locally and via the internet. The video shows a man being able to pause mid-way through playing a game, to then use a Wii U message board and be able to contact friends for advice. It also depicts the ability to video call someone (still whilst pausing the game) and then go back and continue.

23:17  This function is called in Japanese Mii Wara Wara (which is Japanese onomatopoeia for ‘crowd noise’), and will display every time you boot-up your Wii U console. It will show all your Miis in your plaza, including your own, your friend’s, and even those of people in your country playing the same games as you. You will be able to actually communicate with anyone in your plaza and also discover what games they are playing, introducing you to games you might not even know about.

23:19  Iwata refers to this network communication system as ‘Miiverse’ (Mii + Universe). Miiverse allows players to simply communicate by messaging on the GamePad, doodling and writing handwritten notes. Something many people will also be happy to hear, is that Miiverse enables you to take screenshots of gameplay and send them to your friends or transmit content and publish on the internet. Oo, think of the possibilities of Animal Crossing Wii U with screenshot sharing and Miiverse!

23:22  Miiverse can interact with all Wii U games, meaning that developers can create a way to implement Miiverse communication functions in real-time gameplay, hopefully still avoiding the possibility of gameplay spoilers.

23:23  Iwata briefly slips in a sneaky footage of what seems to be a Mario game for Wii U!!! Could this mean an E3 announcement might be on the cards?

23:24  The GamePad is described as ‘a social window’ linking other players together even during gameplay. It allows a degree of empathy to form between players, where they can share each other’s experiences and does not require the use of the TV screen. Miiverse will also be available on your 3DS, phone, PC and virtually any device with internet options,  however it will not be ready until after the Wii U’s launch.

23:26  We get another good glimpse at a black version of the Wii U, seen earlier during the Mii message board section of the video. Mmmm, looking nice…

23:27  Iwata ends the conference by quoting the great Shigeru Miyamoto, “A great idea solves multiple problems at the same time”, which he believes relates well to the Wii U console and GamePad. Iwata explains that even when you are playing solo, you don’t have to feel alone, as there are others who you can laugh, smile and empathise with just a click away on your very own Miiverse.

23:30  And that’s a wrap!

PHEW. What do you think? Iwata has revealed some great online connectivity features which are sure to get people buzzing before their conference at E3. Nintendo Direct has also cemented the fact that the name ‘Wii U’ is here to stay, so no hope of a come-back for ‘Project Cafe’ then!

Let us know what you think of the new features by dropping us a comment down below.

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