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Nintendo’s new gaming console, the Wii U, released on 18 November to a great amount of fanfare and hype as retailers saw console stock sellout rapidly. The Wii U is a device that, according to Nintendo, “removes the traditional barriers between you, your games, and your TV”.
It’s intended to set a new benchmark as far as gaming and entertainment integration goes. Some consumers however believe the device to be too “gimmicky” to offer concrete competition for the more hardcore gaming consoles out there.
What people need to remember is Nintendo’s remarkable ability to turn gimmicks into gold. The first time users heard of the original Wii, there was skepticism regarding the level of user uptake. Another such example is the Nintendo 3DS, which was also believed to be targeting a market that was non-existent. Doubters have been proved wrong as the 3DS is highest selling portable gaming device of 2012.
The new features will not however be accessible straight out the box and require users to download an update that takes an entire day to complete. Yes, an entire day. With that in mind, we put together a list of the five new features you can look forward to after your further twenty-four hour wait.
GamePad’s Secondary Screen
The Wii U’s GamePad is easily its most vital component, it’s where users will gauge the overall efficiency of Nintendo’s new interface. Fitted with a 6.2-inch touch enabled LCD display, this secondary screen will offer users an entirely unique interaction. As far as its built-in functionality, the GamePad is set up with TVii and Wii U Chat integration.
The most interesting aspect of the GamePad will be to see how game developers get the most out of it. For example Batman Arkham City Armored Edition, utilises both TV and GamePad screens for in-game controlling. While controlling Batman on your TV screen with the traditional buttons and analogue sticks, a user can select inventories, equip weapons and view map checkpoints on the touch-enabled GamePad screen. We trust more gaming titles will take advantage of this feature.
Nintendo TVii is set to offer users a whole host of viewing options including movies, TV series and videos. It also has the ability to set up and access specific DVR type content. The best aspect of TVii is the ability to interact and share content while viewing.
Depending on the channel being viewed, users are able to link to specific information feeds. For example, if a user is watching a sports event, they can access statistics and social media feeds, sharing news and opinion with other users.
The fact that the Wii U is backwards compatible with the vast majority of original Wii games certainly takes away from the frustration that users’ Wiis are now obsolete. The console might be outdated, but at least all that money you spent on gaming titles wont have been for nothing.
The backwards compatibility only extends to the Wii Remote, Nunchuck and retro-styled controller, as functionality for the GamePad isn’t integrated for old Wii Titles. Now your Wii Sports Resort won’t go to waste.
Better gaming titles
If there was always one thing that detracted from the playing the Wii, it was that the games always seemed to lack that cutting edge. We understand that the Wii was marketed as a gaming device that the entire family could bond around. But how many times do you really want to re-teach your mom how to play archery.
Along with the usual Mario Bros Universe titles, we will now be seeing more intense games releasing on this new platform. Games like Assassin’s Creed III, Aliens:Colonial Marines, Call of Duty Black Ops II and Ninja Gaiden 3:Razor’s Edge. Unfortunately no news on GTA V, now that would be a welcome addition.
The Miiverse is Nintendo’s answer to an online gaming hub whose purpose is to create a community of avid Wii U gamers. When users boot up their Wii Us, they will be greeted by the WaraWara Plaza, a home screen which shows all other Wii U users Mii characters. The Mii characters will be positioned around whichever game they are playing at that moment.
The Miiverse is packed with a host of interactive social features. Users will be able to share in-game content with one another, such as screenshots, videos and specific rewards. Users will also be able to post hand written notes on the Miiverse community board, which users can pass on or respond to, mirroring functions from the Nintendo 3DS’ Swapnote and Twitter.
This integration is set to roll out to all Wii U titles and forms part of Nintendo’s attempt to create a unique communal gaming experience. It will be interesting to see how quickly this feature is adopted and maintained by users.