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E3 2012: Nintendo Shows Off New Wii U Pro Pad Controller

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Nintendo made an early start at this year’s E3 by holding a short pre-show presentation today. Nintendo unveiled a brand new Wii controller called the Wii U Pro Pad, a revised Wii U game pad, and fleshed-out more details on the online capabilities of the console itself.

Speaking in a video presentation from the seventh floor of the conference room in Nintendo’s Kyoto HQ, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata gave a 30-minute presentation where he outlined the vision and concept behind the Wii U.

Iwata went to great lengths to explain the philosophy at Nintendo, he said: “I believe when you hear from Nintendo this week, there may be several times when you say to yourself, well, that’s certainly something unique”.

At the centre of the presentation was a brand-new controller called the WIi U Pro Pad – this is essentially a Nintendo clone of the Xbox 360 controller, with dual analogs sticks and identical button layout – he explained it is aimed at core multi-format games.

Iwata also outlined several changes made to the final design of the Wii U’s tablet-like controller. He confirmed the inclusion of 2 full analog sticks, he showed off the revised rear of the controller which looked to be a lot more ergonomic alongside the revised button layout.

He also confirmed that Nintendo had decided to include a NFC reader/writer which will be used alongside figures and stickers to enhance gameplay. Iwata also showed off a new feature where the Wii U Pad can become a fully functional TV remote.

Iwata confirmed the Wii U will support existing Wii controls, including the Wiimote, the Nunchuk and the balance board.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata also showed off a new online component called “Mii Universe” – it’s a new online feature for the Wii U and looks a lot  like a much expanded version of the Wii’s Mii Plaza feature and PS Vita’s Near.

The plaza will show Mii characters gathered around games and features a messaging system for players to connect with players they both do and do not know.

Miiverse will also inhabit the 3DS and mobile devices (Android, iOS) in the future, though it will not be available immediately at launch.

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