E3 2011E3: Nintendo Press ConferenceE3 2011 - RSS 2.0
Owners of Pokemon White and Black are already familiar with the Pokedex, but Nintendo's increasing things with the 3DS. Pokedex 3D, free and exclusively on the eShop, will start with 16 Pokemon and players will have to find the rest through Spot Pass, trade or scanning codes in certain locations.
Now we're getting to the good stuff. The new gaming system. Where the Wii was meant to be about "we," Nintendo wants to shift the focus to "you." That's right; the new system is called the Wii U. It does not rhyme with anything unpleasant. The new controller features a 6.2" touch screen along with the usual suspects - two analog sticks, a d-pad, and the regular buttons found on the current Wii controllers. It also includes a microphone, speakers, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and an inward facing camera, which also supports videochat. It's not, Iwata stressed, a portable system; the images on the screen are generated by the console itself.
The system is designed to support the widest variety of games, but it also takes a strike at Microsoft and Sony by including full HD support and web-browsing, complete with image shopping between the handheld controller and the TV. The game applications are also quite exciting. We saw the touchpad being used to aim pitches and catch balls in a baseball game. Players simply hold the touchscreen in front of the TV and an overlay on the handheld controller shows you a reticle where the ball is going. There was also a golf demo where the player laid the handheld unit on the floor to display the ball lie and then used the Wiimote as a club.
As an added bonus, we were also promised that Smash Brothers will be coming not just to the 3DS but also to the Wii U. We'll have a chance to play some of the Wii U software at the show this week, and you can bet we'll bring you more information later. There are eight different experiences, not games exactly; just interactive demonstrations of what the new system can do.
The conference rounded out with some testimonials from developers, including Warren Spector and Ken Levine, and representatives from THQ, Ubisoft, Warner Brothers, EA and Namco. They're all excited by the new system and confirmed that several new games would make their way to Wii U. Among those listed were Tekken, Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City, Ghost Recon Online, Assassin's Creed, and Ninja Gaiden 3.
"This is just a first pass," said Reggie, so we're excited to hear what's next. John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, gave another hint of what's to come next. It's the first time Riccitiello's been on the stage at a Nintendo conference, so it's clear that EA has some serious plans for the console. Imagine, he says, Madden where the HUD is taken off the TV, or Battlefield on Nintendo, or online community participation beyond what's currently available. EA wants to change games from a "thing that you buy" to a "place that you go." It's a corny line, but EA's clearly behind Nintendo's latest effort.