E3 2012: An AMD-Radeon high definition GPU, a new multi-core processor, wireless connectivity, HDMI output up to 1080p, and a list of third-party games – including Assassin’s Creed III, a “Armored Edition” of Batman: Arkham City and Mass Effect 3 – that finally sees the Wii brand now all grown up. Yes, we are talking about the Wii U.
Nintendo showed off many ways of the GamePad. Yes, a gamepad with a touchscreen may seem weird, but it not only acts as a ‘second screen’ for games – similar to the DS with its games. It also can be used as a way to play the game if someone happens to be watching the TV. The GamePad also be used as a TV remote, and has NFC support so data from objects can be wirelessly transmitted.
It showed off implementations of how games, like Batman Arkham City Armored Edition and a new zombie game called ZombiU (yes, it’s getting a zombie game), are using the second screen on the Wii U. And it’s seems interesting.
The Nintendo Wii U will also have an Internet Browser – most likely Opera again – a new video chatting system through the Wii U GamePad, and has announced that it will bring Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube to the console.
Also, in terms of controllers, it’s quietly announced the Wii U Pro controllers. While you can still the Wii Remote Plus, it’s gone back and decided to make a proper controller realising that it was a bit awkward to using the nunchunk and the Wii Remote for games targeting hardcore users.
Essentially, Nintendo is playing catch-up. And fast.
While I scoffed at the idea previously, seeing what it can do based at its press conference at the middle of the night, it might have a shot. Hardware specs are now what we want it to have – high definition graphics; and, a list of titles that target both sections of gamers – hardcore and casual. However, the all important price of the device wasn’t even revealed.
And that could be its Achilles’ heel. If it goes and prices it too much above the Wii (and therefore way above the Xbox 360), then the Wii U is not going to get any possible traction in the market.
The console is to be released in the United States in Holiday 2012. Let’s hope the Australian release date is somewhere in that time frame too.