For those only partially aware of the video game world, but care enough to want to know what's next on the horizon, this week is the huge E3 Expo out in California, showcasing what all the big platforms (Playstation, X-box, etc.) and developers (Ubisoft, EA, etc.) have in store for the not so distant future. Consider it the 'Upfront Presentation' for Video Games with Tuesday's most anticipated showcase being centered around Nintendo.
For months there's been industry buzz over Nintendo's next big system that would make its debut at E3. A system that would finally be in HD and comparable to the PS3 and 360, having titles built with "the serious gamer" in mind. The wait is over. Enter Nintendo Wii U. Yep. That's what it's called. And rather than an entirely revolutionized system, it looks just like a Kindle connected to your Wii.
Ok. What Wii U DOES is that it provides an extended form of game play with a huge touch screen as part of the very controller itself. (the above image) Think "the 2nd screen on the Nintendo DS", but much more powerful and versatile. It's kinda cool in theory, but the presentation was all a bunch of "so what?". There was SOME tech demo but virtually NO footage of any game that will be available. They focussed almost entirely on the controller, not dishing on the specs of the system itself which left many people baffled as to whether it even IS a new system, or just an expensive add-on.
President and COO of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime, confirmed that although the Nintendo Wii U is backwards compatible with the Wii, it IS in fact a new system, it IS HD, and what was shown is only a sample of what Wii U is capable of. Another big takeaway was Nintendo's renwed partnerships with 3rd party developers that make the big hits for PS3 and 360, but in the past have struggled to produce great titles that took proper advantage of the Nintendo hardware. With a "renewed" commitment by these developers to "looking towards the future", I guess that's supposed to change?
Overall, I wasn't impressed. When you hear "a new video game system", you expect something that would blow you away. Talk and promises are about the LEAST "mind-blowing" thing you can bring to a video game expo and that's all Nintendo had with the Wii U ... Even the name of the thing is stupid.
Projected launch date? - 2nd Quarter 2012.
Let me know your thoughts!