As expected, today Nintendo unveiled their successor to the Wii, the stupidly named Wii U, and proved all the rumors correct: the system’s controller uses an iPad like touchscreen with traditional controller elements integrated to the right and left of the screen: standard button layout(including shoulder and trigger buttons), two analog sticks, a d-pad, camera, mic, and a motion sensor.
The Wii U displays games in HD resolution to your television, but can also stream the games to the screen on the controller, allowing games to be played while something else is on TV, or allowing home console games to use the dual screen set-up that has been previously only available on the DS and 3DS. In addition to that, the new controller can also be used in conjuction with the Wii-Mote for motion controlled games; Nintendo’s E3 demo showed a player hitting a baseball with the Wii-mote used as bat, while the player on defense used the new Wii U controller’s screen to track the ball and try to catch it.
A brief tech demo of the hardware showed off better than 360/PS3 level graphics, though no actual games were shown, other than a brief teaser for a brand new HD Zelda game. It was announced that 3rd parties will have games like Darksider II, Batman Arkham City, Tekken, Assassin’s Creed, and Ninja Gaiden will be available at or around the time of Wii U’s launch.
Nintendo has a knack for making products look awesome when they’re unveiled (look-up reactions to the Wii or the 3DS’ debuts,) but it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to follow through with creating a product that will deliver to both hardcore gamers and casuals. The Wii had a ton of potential that was never utilized, and Nintendo’s going to have to work hard to win back the hardcore. The line-up of games is certainly strong, especially with Nintendo teasing HD renditions of both Zelda and Super Smash Bros, and the Wii U has the chance to be a real game changer for the entire industry. It’s weird to say it, but for the first time in 5 years, Nintendo has a system that can go toe-to-toe with the Xbox 360 and PS3 and potentially beat them at their own game.