Nintendo touts games for Wii U GamePad console

Posted at 06/06/12 11:43 AM

LOS ANGELES, California - Nintendo fired its riposte Tuesday in the battle for living room entertainment by boosting its game offerings for its new Wii U console featuring a tablet-style controller.

The Japanese electronic games giant boasted that Wii U would start a "revolutionary" trend in "asymmetrical play" that lets players using GamePad tablets act as wily adversaries in multi-person matches.

Nintendo did not reveal the price it planned to charge for the successor to the Wii consoles launched in 2006, not did it indicate the precise date it will hit the market.

"At its core, the Wii U does three different things," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said during a Nintendo press event just hours before the official start of the premier E3 videogame conference in Los Angeles.

"Change your gaming; change how you interact with gaming friends, and changes the way you enjoy your TV," he continued.

"It is not just intuitive and accessible to everyone, but it stands to revolutionize your living room."

Nintendo made scant mention of films or other digital content or services along the lines of those played up by Microsoft and Sony for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles respectively.

"It's all about the games," Fils-Aime said of Nintendo's focus at E3 this week.

"In the near future we will show you how Wii U will integrate and elevate your living room entertainment," he explained. "The proof points are going to have to wait for another day."

Winning franchises being adapted for Wii U included "Super Mario Brothers" and "Batman Arkham City" as well as "Scribblenauts" and "Assassin's Creed."

"It is a wonderful time in the state of the industry to have an exciting new platform," said Martin Tremblay, the president of Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, which is making 'Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition.'

France-based videogame titan Ubisoft shined at the Nintendo event, showing off versions of hit titles adapted for Wii U as well as original works such as "ZombiU" crafted to take advantage of the new console capabilities.

"It's accessible; it's social, and it's very innovative," Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot said while introducing a slate of titles during the event. "It is a revolution."

Designers of "ZombiU" refer to the GamePad as a "survival kit" for the game because it lets players scan for the living dead, fight them off, and even keep an eye on them while trying to do tasks like unlocking doors under pressure.

Nintendo also boasted of the social networking features built into the GamePad to synch with the Miiverse online social network unveiled on Sunday by Sony president Satoru Iwata.

Fils-Aime equated Miiverse to a "main street" where players represented by animated "mii" characters congregate and communicate.

Games being crafted for Wii U included epic science fiction adventure title "Mass Effect 3" and "Lego City Undercover" that lets players use GamePads to solve crimes in a cartoon city.

"Our goal with Wii U this year, as it was with the Wii six years ago, is to provide new and engrossing game experiences for every type of player," Fils-Aime said.

Unlike six years ago, Microsoft and Sony are not caught clinging to button-and-toggle controllers while Nintendo heads in a new direction with its console.

Sony broke down a platform wall by letting players using its Vita handheld devices or PlayStation 3 consoles play against one another in the same game.

At a press event Monday, the Japanese entertainment giant also announced that Android-powered smartphones and tablets will synch with PlayStation games as the result of an alliance with Taiwan-based HTC Corporation.

Microsoft on Monday stepped up its quest to be at the heart of home entertainment by synching Xbox 360 videogame consoles to smartphones and tablets while adding more blockbuster content.

Microsoft unveiled Xbox SmartGlass software for linking the world's leading consoles to iPhones, iPads, Android-powered gadgets and, of course, devices powered by the US technology titan's new Windows 8 operating system.

The SmartGlass application to be released worldwide by the end of the year could drain some of the enthusiasm for Wii U consoles since players will be able to use "devices they already own" instead of needing to by tablet controllers.

Nintendo on Tuesday played into its advantage that major game publishers are readying hot titles to release with Wii U consoles while Microsoft invited game developers to begin imagining possibilities for "multi-screen entertainment."

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