Nintendo is sounding off in a big way before E3 even kicks off. In a direct video to consumers, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata revealed some new details on the Wii U's tablet controller, as well as juicy new info on all of the unique technologies stuffed inside the console to make it worthy of being a next-gen system.
Redesigned Wii U GamePad
The first major revelation Iwata did was show off a tweaked and refined Wii U controller — henceforth called the Wii U GamePad — that shows the company has heard many of the concerns from last year and remedied them.
Slightly wider, the Wii U GamePad (name derived from the old NES gamepad days) ditches the singular-plane Circle Pads and brings analog sticks that resemble those found on the Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers. They even have the "click" function — a first for a Nintendo controller.
The Wii U GamePad's rear also has a more ergonomic sculpt to it. Last year's prototype controller didn't have any grips for your fingers. Now it does. The Start and Select Buttons have also moved to a more accessible spot beneath the A/B/X/Y buttons instead of between the controller's Home button.
NFC and TV Controls
Speaking of new buttons, the Wii U GamePad sports two new buttons that didn't exist in the prototype. An NFC button is now located under the D-pad. Pressing it switches on the screen's wireless capabilities allowing gamers to connect NFC gadgets (Think Activision's Skylanders figurines. Pokémon anyone?).
Below the screen is also a "TV" button. You asked for it and Nintendo has delivered. That's right, the Wii U GamePad can be used as a universal TV remote. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but think about what tablets are doing in the living room — they're used as touchscreen controls for your TV — and this addition is Nintendo's way of indirectly kneeing the tablets in the balls.
Meet Miiverse, Nintendo's Gaming Social Network
Don't call Miiverse an Xbox Live or PlayStation Network killer. It's not. In traditional Nintendo fashion, Nintendo is opting to give its online offering a Nintendo touch, specifically one built around the lovable Mii avatars.
Building on what its already done with Miis on the Wii and 3DS, Miiverse will populate your controller and TV screen with your Miis, your Wii U system's Miis, your friends' Miis and any Miis who are enjoying the same game (it's similar to the Vita's Near feature). What can you do with them? You can send Pictochat-esque doodles or messages with the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen and take game screenshots and upload them to Facebook. Presumably, you'll be able to use the video camera to hit up your buds, too (Nintendo demoed a person asking another gamer for game tips via video chat).
The best part to the messages is that they'll be accessible through a smartphone, tablet or PC. It's universal access!
The Wii U also features a new spiffy Web browser. Unlike the Opera-based Wii browser that was slow and pretty much useless, the new Web browser () actually looks usable. As demoed at last year's E3, windows and info can be flicked to and from the TV and Wii U GamePad. Additionally, if you don't want the TV's screen to be viewable by others, you can put up a cute little digital curtain on the TV screen.
Wii U Pro Controller
Don't like the Wii U GamePad? No biggie. It might not be for everyone. That's why Nintendo's covering all the bases. If you prefer a traditional controller, the Wii U Pro Controller is your tool of choice.
Some say the controller looks like a virtual knockoff of the Xbox 360 controller, with the exception of the analog sticks being in different places, but who says that's a bad thing? The Xbox 360 controller is considered to be one of the best controllers ever created. Nintendo tossing Microsoft a little flattery is a sign of flattery, not its doom.
As of counting now, the Wii U supports the Wii U GamePad, Wii Remotes (Wii Remote Plus, too), Wii Classic Controller and now the Wii U Pro Controller. Not to mention the Wii Nunchuk and Wii Balance Board. Yep, I think you really have no excuse now to say the controller is not your type.
Still Waiting On Some Info
We're still short on a few answers such as pricing, release, storage, etc, but things are starting to look up for the Wii U. Now, this is what I'm talking about. Nintendo is finally coming out of the dark. On the plus side, Nintendo showed off a black version of the Wii U console and controller, although it's not a shoe-in what colors will make it to launch, we've got our fingers crossed.