Nintendo Wii U console glimpsed

Posted: January 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Although the company successfully courted casual gamers with the Wii, it is now facing increased competition from Apple’s iPhone and other devices that offer simple games. It had hoped to win new gamers through a 3-D hand-held device. But sales were slow, and Nintendo slashed prices on the 3DS within six months.

The Wii U will be sold as a bundle with one touch-screen controller, which is almost as big as the game console itself. Nintendo has not said what the package or an extra controller will cost. Touch screens are expensive, often accounting for nearly half of the cost of a phone or a tablet computer.

Nintendo’s demonstrations reveal that the touch-screen controller is designed to work with older controllers. For example, in one of Nintendo’s demonstration games, four players with Wii remotes chase a fifth, who uses the touch controller. The fifth player uses the screen on the controller to guide his movements, which are thus kept secret from the other players. The other players keep track of their own movements on the TV screen. In another demonstration game, two players with Wii remotes collaborate to fight a third, who zooms around in a spaceship, controlled through the touch controller.

The integration of the older remotes and the touch controller goes even further. The existing Wii console is able to keep track of where the old-style Wii remotes are with the help of a “sensor bar” that attaches to the TV set. That’s how the Wii remote can be used to “point” to things on the screen. The new Wii U controller has its own sensor bar, so the Wii U can figure out where a Wii remote is in relation to the controller, not just the TV set.

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