Our story on the Wii U

Here’s the story we ran on Nintendo’s next console in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and The Sun. Stay tuned for more stuff and commentary on E3.

OS ANGELES – Nintendo revealed its forthcoming “Wii U” console Tuesday at E3, the gaming industry’s annual convention.

The new video-game system – set for release in 2012 – features a
touchscreen built into its controller and at first glance, appears to
represent yet another step in the company’s efforts to transform the way
its customers use its products.

“It can change the way you play games and change the way you
interact with family and friends,” Nintendo of America president Reggie
Fils-Aime said during his company’s presentation at Nokia Theater.




Nintendo did not release a price. Its current home console,
the Wii, retails for $149.99 after a price drop in May. Its handheld 3DS
console sells for $249.99.

Nintendo’s announcement makes the company the first of the big
three console makers to reveal a new home console. Competitor Sony
showed off its advanced “Vita” handheld game player in a pre-E3 event on
Monday.

What Nintendo showed Tuesday morning was a piece of technology
that appeared to blur the lines between a video-game console and tablet
computer.

The company revealed the Wii U with a short video showing a
boy playing a video game on a television screen. The boy’s father asked
him to switch to baseball, and after switching the game off the
television, the boy was still able to play the game by viewing his
controller’s screen.

But besides being a way to let family members share a TV screen, Nintendo’s demonstration showed a device that would allow players to play a game using two screens at the same time.

In one clip, showing a woman playing a golf game, the golf course
appeared on a television screen as in a normal video game. Meanwhile,
her controller was set on the floor and showed an image of a golf ball.
Using a motion controller, she mimed a golf swing and hit the virtual
ball.

The controller’s functionality also makes it possible for users to upload photos from controller to television screen.

The new console’s name is derived from the words “we” and “you.”

Nintendo’s current console, the Wii, sold more than 86 million
units largely on the strength of its motion-based controls. For
example, a player could play video bowling by mimicking the actions of a
bowler while holding the console’s controller, rather than simply
pressing a button.

Although the Wii appealed to many customers who may not
otherwise play “hardcore” video games, Nintendo’s appeal has also fallen
away from some players who prefer games built upon high-end graphics
and, at times, violent gameplay.

The “you” in the console’s name may represent Nintendo’s
attempt to win back some of those players, many of whom grew up playing
NES and Super NES games in the 1980s and 1990s. Nintendo reported that
the Wii U will feature high-definition graphical capabilities and showed
a video featuring game developers who produce titles for competitors
like Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 consoles.

EA Games CEO John Riccitiello appeared on stage near the close
of Nintendo’s presentation to share his excitement over the Wii U,
saying the forthcoming tech accords with his firm’s philosophy of
“changing games from a thing that you buy to a place you go.”

Whatever that means in practice, Riccitiello enthused about
the possibility of playing games like military shooter “Battlefield 3″
or EA Sports’ Madden NFL series on a system that provided players with
two screens.

For example, two screens would allow players to play Madden
without having to call plays on their television set, instead keeping
the action on the main screen while the coaching is reserved for the
hand-held monitor.