The big reveal of Nintendo’s press conference at this year’s E3 was of course the Wii U, or rather, the Wii U’s controller leaving a lot of people wondering what exactly the hardware for the Wii U consists of. Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata spoke with the Evening Standard (via Eurogamer) about the announcement and how he regrets not focusing more on the Wii U itself. His reason for doing so wasn’t out of madness but common sense. To him and the rest of the company, the Wii U “is not drastically different and [its] about the controller. The console itself will be almost invisible.”
What we do know is that the Wii U will be able to produce the same kinds of graphics as the Xbox 360 and PS3 and is capable of 1080p video output. Whether it’s more powerful than the competition isn’t all that essential right now because for Nintendo, this isn’t about a new bit of hardware, it’s about technically catching up with those who are slowly chipping away at the lead they have in the market and be considered a serious piece of home entertainment.
The Wii U doesn’t need to be drastically different from the Wii either. How often have you found yourself thinking that a Wii game would look great in HD and that’ll you wished you could play it that way? Games like Super Mario Galaxy have that unique art style that makes us love Nintendo but imagine it in high definition. That, plus a better use of online (which we’ve already seen steps towards on the 3DS) would be enough for me.
But the real majesty of the Wii U is said to be in its controller – again, why Nintendo decided to put all the emphasis on it instead of the unit which would sit under your TV – and Iwata said people won’t truly appreciate how impactful it will be until they play with it. He believes the new way of traditional video game interaction it offers will once again allow Nintendo to dramatically influence the industry. Bold words but pretty much all I read regarding the controller is how brilliant it is so he may just be onto something with these claims.
However Sony has the opportunity to offer a very similar experience with the PS Vita if it linked seamlessly to the PS3. For all intense purposes, it comes with pretty much the same technology as the Wii U controller so like the PlayStation Move, we would see Nintendo’s idea replicated on a rival platform.