E3 2012: Wii U controller christened ‘Wii U GamePad’

Nintendo used a surprise pre-E3 video announcement to show off the final form of the Wii U controller today.

A livestreamed but pre-recorded video demo from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained that the touchscreen pad has a name: the Wii U GamePad the device

As previously rumoured, the Wii U GamePad has got two analogue sticks instead of circle pads like those found on the 3DS. The sticks are also clickable, as with PS3 and 360 controllers.

There have been some aesthetic and design tweaks to improve the comfort of holding the device, and it’s a little wider, too.

As revealed last year, it has on-board infrared sensors and a touch screen.

A small square area on the pad denotes an added near-field communication hub, which Iwata said would work with ‘cards or figures’ – presumably the likes of Skylanders, and perhaps even debit/credit payment cards.

In what Nintendo calls "asymmetric diversity", the GamePad will work as the screen for the Wii U independently from the console when plugged into a TV – exactly as the firm explained at E3 last year.

But importantly that means players can use the console when a big screen in the home is unavailable.

Demos in the video showed players using the GamePad to use Wii Fit and play Mario without the TV, and referring the Wii U GamePad screen instead.

Wii U also supports the existing Wii controller.

The firm also said it is introducing an updated version of the Classic controller – the Wii U Pro Controller.

The video demo was designed to show off the controller’s functionality before Nintendo uses its E3 Tuesday morning press briefing to talk almost exclusively about Wii U software.

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