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Wii U Goes Hardcore, Seeks to Dominate with New Console

News photo

Nintendo has shown off 23 of the first games to be launched on its upcoming Wii U console.

Several - including a Batman spin-off and a violent zombie-themed title - are designed to appeal to "hardcore gamers" who have traditionally opted for other games machines.

The extremely popular title from Rocksteady studios, Batman: Arkham City , will make its debut on the Wii U bringing both familiar and new gameplay into the mix. Using the Wii U's new game controls, players can quickly access gadgets, explosives, and maps instantly with touchscreen.



"Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition harnesses the power of the Wii U system and the Wii U GamePad with features that allow fans to further immerse themselves in the role of Batman like never before," said Martin Tremblay, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "WB Games Montreal evolved the incredible hit game by Rocksteady into a truly unique experience on Wii U."


The Wii U's centerpiece is a touch-screen controller that can serve as a second screen for Wii games or as an independent screen for video calls or Internet browsing, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said during a presentation on the company's website Monday.

The Wii U will be compatible with earlier Wii games and hardware, Iwata said, without disclosing when the Kyoto-based company will start selling the game pad.

Nintendo hopes to sell 7 million Wii U units this fiscal year , Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Securities Co. in Tokyo, estimated in April.

However, it did not set a launch date beyond referring to "the holidays".

The period usually refers to the months of November and December in the US. The firm had previously said the machine would be released in Europe, Australia, the US and Japan before Christmas.

Details of the console and controllers' costs were also not discussed at the presentation held at the E3 games trade show in Los Angeles.

Serious gamers

The Wii U will be the first of the next generation of games machines to launch. Sony and Microsoft have yet to reveal details of their plans.

News that the titles - including Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition; Aliens: Colonial Marines; Mass Effect 3; Assassin's Creed 3 and ZombiU - are under development for Nintendo's machine may help extend its appeal.
ZombiU screenshot
ZombiU

"The criticism of the Wii U had been that it didn't address serious gamers who are looking for complex, graphics-heavy titles," said Bridget Carey, senior editor of the tech site Cnet.

"So they are coming out with all these titles. Many of them are already around on other consoles, so it's not going to wow many people.

There are no major surprises at E3 this year, but what it lacks in big announcements it is partly making up for with some creative thinking into squeezing more use out of existing consoles.

The most intriguing is Microsoft's SmartGlass, aimed at connecting the Xbox360 into a wider tech ecosystem.

Essentially it takes Apple's Airplay concept and raises it, conjuring up rich ways a tablet or smartphone can complement the media or game being served up on the main console.

SmartGlass presents something of a challenge to Nintendo's upcoming Wii U machine, which will feature a wireless second screen controller when it is released later this year.



After a disappointing period Nintendo needs the Wii U to reclaim the gaming high ground in the way the original console did six years ago, though so far it has failed to generate anywhere near the same hype.

Sony finds itself in a similar position, and with a gimmicky augmented reality concept for the PS3 as its highlight, it is doing little to dispel investor worries about its future.

"But this is Nintendo saying we're there for every type of gamer, not just family fun - which is their biggest strength."

Mario returns

Announced titles targeting the casual gaming market included New Mario Bros U, Pikmin 3 and Scribblenauts Unlimited.


Nintendo Land will also feature several of the firm's existing characters in mini-games and is intended to help introduce users to the concept of the new Wii U Game Pad controllers.

The game pads feature a touchscreen which Nintendo claimed would help "revolutionise" gaming.

Examples of its uses included allowing a player to check their inventory while the action continued on the main screen, setting off explosives by tapping on the appropriate part of the handset's image, and playing games on the small screen when other family members wanted to use the TV.

Nintendo also promoted the integration of its Miiverse social network, allowing a user's friends to pass on tips or boast of their recent scores while play continued.

Winter rush

Nintendo's shares dropped last year after it first announced the Wii U, and in April it declared an annual net loss of 43.2bn yen ($533m; £329m).


One analyst attending E3 said there were still unanswered questions that could determine if the firm would turn its fortunes around.

"They are really focusing on the game content, but the question is when these games and the console itself will be released," said Brian Blau, research director at the technology consultants Gartner.



"They need to come out some time in advance of Christmas to have an impact. If they come late in the buying cycle I'm slightly worried for their overall success."

The Engadget tech site highlighted another issue: the Game Pad can only be used wirelessly for 3 to 5 hours before its battery needs to be recharged, according to a specification sheet posted on Nintendo's site.

That is significantly less than controllers without a touchscreen, such as Sony's Dual Shock 3 which lasts between 20 to 30 hours on a charge when new.


I dunno guys, will you get it when it comes out?
Sources: JapanTimes, BBC, GamenGuide, Nintendo@yt
Tags: video games
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