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nintendo press conference

Wii U Controller Features 6.2" Screen, Motion Control, Video Calls

by Dan Ryckert on Jun 07, 2011 at 07:09 AM

As expected, Nintendo’s new controller for Wii U features a touchscreen in addition to standard buttons and analog sticks. A sizzle reel at Nintendo’s press conference showed off several previously unknown functions, however.

One scenario shown off in the video was a gamer playing a Mario title on the television when a friend came in requesting to watch a baseball game. The game’s action was then shifted to the Wii U controller’s 6.2” screen, freeing up the television.

When used in conjunction with a television, the Wii U controller has several other functions. It can be used to provide an alternate perspective, as shown with a Wii Sports baseball type of game. The TV showed the batter’s perspective, while the Wii U controller allowed the pitcher an entirely different view. Once the ball was hit into the air, the second player had to track the ball using motion control in order to catch it. In a golf game, the player can look down at the controller on the floor to see the lie of the ball, and the actual follow-through and shot can be seen on the screen.

The controller can also be attached to the Wii Zapper and used as a viewfinder or giant scope. A Hogan’s Alley-esque game demonstrated this. Connecting to the Wii Balance Board is also possible, allowing you to check your weight privately without using the television.

Another scenario didn’t require a television at all. Two players were shown participating in a board game of sorts while the Wii U controller sat on a table.

Outside of the gaming world, the Wii U controller can also be used to make video calls similar to Apple’s Facetime function for iPhones and iPads.

Like with the DS, it'll be interesting to see what developers do with such a radically different method of control. We'd expect some growing pains as studios start to experiment with the Wii U controller, but it should be exciting to see how it pans out.