Nintendo Wii U final GamePad details emerge
At E3, Nintendo is starting to answer the many questions that gamers have about the upcoming console, including many about its revolutionary new GamePad controller.
First and foremost is the confirmation that it *will* be possible to use more than one GamePad simultaneously. Previously Nintendo had only quipped that it was "technically possible" to do so.
This announcement was backed up with in-game support. The launch Mario title, for example, will offer a "boost mode" whereby multiple players can get in on the action co-operatively. One can control Mario while another can place blocks on screen to assist in the level.
The GamePad will work via infrared transmission and will feature A, B, X and Y buttons with left and right analogue sticks than can be pressed down in the same fashion as those on the PS3's controllers.
Rear ZL and ZR triggers and shoulder controls are supposed to make this a practical and powerful controller too.
The GamePad will also have a stylus included for more precise touchscreen control.
An on-board camera will open new avenues too, and was demonstrated with Ubisoft's ZombiU as a way to turn you into a live-action zombie, although the augmented reality demonstration was a little lax and didn't always match up to facial movements. Still, potentially clever stuff when the bugs are ironed out.
There are also stereo speakers, volume control and, to keep things quiet, a headphones jack.
Nintendo is claiming battery life will be around 3-5 hours with a 2.5 hour charge time meaning you should have plenty of gaming time in any given gaming session as long as you've remembered to charge it up first.
And much is being made of the benefit of the dual-screen nature of the console. Having the Wii U GamePad means that someone can watch TV while you carry on playing. We already knew that of course, but now we're starting to see Wii Fit U working in this way, in the usual Nintendo advertising campaign style - ie, absurdly happy people wearing Lycra.
There will be a new balance board, and as confirmed in the Nintendo promotional video, it will also be possible to sync your "real world" exercise data with the Wii U. In the launch video, it was shown syncing with some sort of unnamed dongle that allowed running stats to be added into the game. Now that could be a huge motivation for some people.
And the gaming potential was shown off too. With ZombiU it's possible to use the controller screen as a sniper scope to kill zombies from afar, while the built in gyrometer and accelerometer make it possible to virtually bash zombies on the head with real-world GamePad movement. And when it came to cracking a door code the over-the-shoulder view was on the main screen, while the GamePad screen made it possible to continue tapping in different codes to gain access.
The key to full gaming submersion? Or is the GamePad just so bloomin' huge that it'll never take off with hardcore gamers?