Wii U along with its tablet-like GamePad controller and 'MiiVerse' social network were announced in "final format" by Nintendo President Satoro Iwata in a pre-E3 reveal video on Nintendo Direct.

Scroll down for the super dry video of the announcement.

In giving more details about the Wii U, Nintendo and Iwata are certainly staying true to the idea that drives Nintendo, which is "creating something unique."

For those out there that don't already know, the Wii U is Nintendo's next-generation console, set to hit shelves before Microsoft and Sony can roll out their new Xbox and Playstation devices.

Wii U Tablet Controller
wii u controller

The biggest buzz so far about the Wii U is the tablet-like controller that lets players interact simultaneously with games on their TVs and on the controller's touch screen, take their games on-the-go with the controller, and use it as a remote control for the TV. This is mostly old hat, though; basic details of Nintendo's controller have been floating around since last year's E3 announcement.

What's new about the Wii U GamePad compared to what we last heard?

  • The thumbsticks are raised from the prototype and, taking a cue from the Xbox360 and PS3 controllers, are now clickable. A TV button has been included, so the GamePad will also function as a universal remote.
  • The tablet screen and TV screen will function similarly to how the DS or 3DS work, except on a larger scale. How exactly games will be utilized for this format should be revealed over the coming days at E3 as Nintendo rolls out their Wii U game launch lineup.
  • A wireless NFC reader/writer has been added on the left side, and the d-pad and face buttons have been moved inward just a little.
  • The GamePad will also feature compatibility with the Wii Remote motion controller.

Details have also emerged about the Nintendo Wii U social network called Miiverse (Mii Universe.)

The Miiverse And Mii Wara Wara
miiverse

Only six years late to the social party, Nintendo will kick off its Wii U with an integrated social network called MiiVerse. The Miiverse follows in the footsteps of Microsoft's highly successful Xbox Live and Sony's hacker paradise Playstation Network.

The Miiverse is as native to the Wii U as the GamePad. A few of the elements that Iwata said Nintendo feels are innovative is the touchpad of the controller for typing and handwritten messages (more significant for Japanese and Asian markets that rely on character based writing), makes reading messages easier, and the ability to post screenshots and transmit game content.

Most of these Miiverse "innovations" are not new as individual functions, but combined they do help at least distinguish the Miiverse from its competitors, at least until the next generation versions of Xbox Live and Playstation Network come out. The Miiverse is basically catching Nintendo up to the present rather than pushing them into the future.

Wii U Pro Controller
wii u pro controller

For the more "hardcore" gamer or those interested in, Iwata's words, "Multi-platform games," Nintendo is providing a controller option looking like a hybrid between Xbox360 and PS3 controllers. Maybe there are some gamers wondering...why? Why even release a controller like this if the GamePad is supposed to be as amazing and innovative as Nintendo says. Why would those purchasing a Wii even be interested in using the Pro Controller if it doesn't provide all the of basic content options for various games? Does this mean only first party Nintendo developers are going to be taking full advantage of the GamePad. Unless Nintendo plans on releasing ports of games that do not include GamePad functionality, its difficult to see the point.

Forbes' Terr Kuitten writes that "tablet panic" and addition of the GamePad to the Nintendo console is crippling product development and that Nintendo is exhibiting "a corporate meltdown on par with Research in Motion," with its appeal-to-everyone emerging theme.

According to IGN, some developers are grumbling about the difficulty to develop for the Wii U compared to the next generation Xbox and Playstation.


Check out some official videos for Nintendo's new products, and scroll down more for tweeters' mixed reactions to the devices.

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  • Nintendo Direct Pre-E3 2012 Wii U Reveal

  • Nintendo Wii U Zombie Shooter Commercial

    A truly bizarre <a href="http://www.joystiq.com/2012/06/03/nintendos-bizarre-wii-u-zombie-shooter-commercial-must-be-seen/" target="_hplink">commercial by Nintendo for a zombie shooter</a>.

  • Wii U MiiVerse Demo

    IGN clipped just the Wii U MiiVerse demo portion of Iwata's Nintendo Direct.

  • Wii U Pro Controller

    Nintendo also announced the Wii U "<a href="http://www.ign.com/videos/2012/06/03/wii-u-pro-controller-revealed-e3-2012" target="_hplink">Pro Controller</a>'" a more traditional take on the controller modeled after Xbox and PS3 type controllers.

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