E3 2012: Wii U - What does it do?

Refurbished and renamed Wii U GamePad, new 'Pro Controller' and online features revealed
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Nintendo has used a pre-announcement at E3 to clear up confusion surrounding the Wii U by presenting a new game pad and unveiling the system’s social online features.

The first reveal showed off the final form of the Wii U controller, now re-christened the Wii U GamePad.

The controller consists of two analogue sticks, rather than circular pads, and are also now clickable to add extra functionality.

The pad is now also slightly wider, whilst tweaks have been made to improve comfort in holding the device. Other features previously announced and still included are on-board infrared sensors and a touch screen.

Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata also went on to clear up confusion about how the titles could be played on the GamePad, stating that the console could be used through the controller when a normal television set is turned off.

The console giant also introduced a new core games controller – the Wii U Pro Controller – similar in design to the Xbox 360 pad.

The new gamepad, likely a replacement for Wii’s Classic Controller, will be compatible with games such as Arkham City, and has likely been created to reassure developers over the Wii U’s playability.

The Wii U will also be compatible with the Wii motion controllers.

Online services revealed

Nintendo also laid bare its online plan for the new console, as Iwata told the E3 audience it would be looking to increase its social elements to bring users together.

“New technology made life easier and more efficient but we have to wonder what this means for the nature of human relationships moving forward,” he explained.

New features include the MiiVerse, which will be seen each time users turn the Wii U on and off. This new feature, much like the Wii Plaza, will show a series of Miis crowded around the screen connecting, interacting and sharing their experiences.

The new online service can be accessed during gameplay, whilst users struggling on a particular level can access the MiiVerse and view progress and opinions from other players.