Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Nintendo Wii U Controller Unveiled at E3
With a glossy white front face and smooth contours, the Wii U controller tablet has an uncanny resemblance to something Apple would conjure up. It also looks like a giant bottom half of a DSi XL, with dual analog pads added. The tablet is roughly the size of many 7-inch tablets, but with a larger bezel, thicker chassis, and more controller-like feel. It's lightweight enough to hold for the sessions we used, but after a few minutes of motion use it felt less ergonomic than a Wii remote.
No technical specs are known yet about the resolution, battery life, or processing power of either the tablet or its base console, but here's what we do know: the tablet controller has dual analog pads, a crosspad, buttons, trigger buttons on the back, a stylus or finger-activated touchscreen, a microphone, front and rear-facing cameras, and a gyroscopic motion sensor.
The cameras and microphone will enable video chat according to Nintendo, while the gyro motion controls enable augmented reality-style movement of the 6-inch screen's viewpoint. Games demoed show how the tablet's second screen can be used for a unique player's perspective, or a device that can enhance, interact with, or magnify action seen on the TV. Aiming the tablet camera at the TV might enable a pitch-control interface in a baseball game, or a close-up sniper view in a shooter.
While the tablet can act as a stand-alone gaming device while the TV connected to the Wii U is in use by someone else, according to Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto the Wii U's tablet is a living room device meant to be used in the home, preferably not far from the TV it's paired to. Technically, the wirelessly-connected device could be used to play games on its own, but it sounds like the base Wii U console will need to be on in order to enable that game play.
The tablet's display was crisp and bright in our hands-on use, somewhere in the iPad 2 range of quality, and definitely better than a Nintendo DSi or 3DS. Resolution isn't known yet, but it looked as good as any 7-inch tablet we've seen.