The Wii U Controller has been hot property for some time in the tech world, with coveted hands playing with it as it gets displayed in trade shows round the world. We saw a preview of this device at E3 and now we got to enjoy some hands on time with this exciting new console/ controller. The confusing thing about the Wii U Controller is that the controller is an accessory for the Wii U console, but the console is still shrouded in mystery. The Wii U controller is a handheld Tablet styled device with a 6.2 inch touchscreen, handy trigger buttons on the back and a power button, home button and familiar A/B/X/Y control pad.
It has a built in accelerometer and gyroscope as well a forward facing camera and stereo speakers. It feels surprisingly robust to hold, which makes it extremely child friendly, so Wii are in keeping with their friendly family fun theme.
They were very coy about prices and release dates, but 2012 does seem to be the year this will be stocked, we can only hope it’s before Christmas.
Though the controller and console were demoed with a Zelda game and a ‘hide and seek’ game, I was told these were more to demonstrate the way you might use the Wii U, rather than an actual likelihood of following through with this.
Some of the concepts illustrated featured a four way game such as hide and seek, where you played with friends with Wii controllers, and one used the Wii U controller to see extra content, such as an aerial view of the activity. The Wii U controller user would use their gamepad to ‘hide’ their character, whilst being able to see all contestants, whilst the other players get a delayed start and aren’t able to see your image. It does add an extra element to the process, but by separating out content in this way it would be easy to make a player feel excluded rather than included in this type of game.
A traffic scene was also demonstrated, with the Wii U controller angled in order to let you get the whole 360 view out a moving car window, and it was suggested that when this technology is concentrated into games you will see a lot more depth and character to your surroundings.
You’re also able to continue playing a Wii game on the controller if someone else in your house wishes to use the TV for something else and it comes packed with some basic internal games (think Solitaire and the like- still to be confirmed). You can also browse the web on the Wii U controller and use the camera to Skype.
The actual Wii U console will features an AV out multi connector, and you can expand the internal memory via a USB port (it includes four!) or an SD card.
It remains to be seen how the Wii U (and associated Wii U controller) will affect the gaming market, as in a sense the Wii U offers users a cheaper version of the iPad and aims to introduce a younger generation into tablet play as well as collaborative gaming. Nintendo are pretty savvy at their positioning however so it will be interesting to see what they have in store for us.