A universe of Miis will be the gateway to online gaming with the Wii U. Miiverse includes voice chat and community services
Nintendo’s hype train continues to build up steam ahead of the conference on Tuesday, with yet more Miis!
In typical Nintendo fashion, the company built up hype for gamers before its conference at the Nintendo Direct E3 2012 pre-conference conference. Aired last night, and pre-recorded to my disappointment, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata revealed a new feature: the Wii U’s online service.
I’d compared Miiverse to Apple Communities, where users can ask questions for other users to answer. Nintendo has taken a different approach than Microsoft and Sony, by bringing players together immediately rather than allowing people to connect how they want. Whether that’s something you like is dependant on whether you like people.
Nintendo revealed the feature is a new, rather goofy ad, which also showed voice chat. It functions by placing the Wii U tablet – now called the GamePad – at the bottom of the TV screen. Video chat took the full screen, but seemed to be done from in-game which was interesting. Of course it’s an ad so the service has been made to look awesome, though I’m not sure I like connecting with a potentially random player. That could be awkward.
The main menu, if you want to call it that, is an area littered with bubbles representing the game. Around the game are Miis, representing players you know and players you don’t know (from friends’ lists, and same-speaking countries). It’s unclear whether the number of Miis playing the game is shown in real-time, and whether games are those which you have installed. I’m guessing that’s the case, but we’ll see on Tuesday.
No Multitouch a Problem
We also saw the internet browser again, which looked like a web browser, the keyboard for the first time. Since there’s no multitouch, the way I can see it working is with a stylus that uses a system similar to Swype for Android. The software allows users to swipe across key, effectively drawing a word.
Developers can use the Miiverse API to integrate the service into games, so hopefully we’ll see different kinds of interaction. At least Nintendo is supporting third-parties. More concrete examples of functionality, undoubtedly including games, will be shown at the conference on Tuesday.
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