Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Nintendo Holds Back the Goods on Wii U Launch Date

Today at the E3 video game conference, Nintendo showed off a spate of software titles for its upcoming Wii U gaming system, but declined to reveal the exact launch date of the highly anticipated successor to the best-selling Wii console.

Nintendo listed 23 titles that will launch alongside the Wii U, including Super Mario Bros. U, Pimkin 3, Batman Arkham City, Zombi U, Rabbids Lands and more. Another title, NintendoLand, offers mini-games like Donkey Kong within the game.

Nintendo President of America Reggie Fils-Aime said NintendoLand would become available when the Wii U launches — “this holiday season.”

But aside from that, the game maker kept mum on details regarding launch date and price, to the disappointment of some E3 attendees.

The Japanese gaming company first announced the Wii U at last year’s E3, with more details about the device trickling out in recent months.

Just a couple days ago, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata appeared in a video and revealed that the tablet-like game controller for the game system is officially called the GamePad. He also announced plans for a Web-based social network, Miiverse, which won’t link to other social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

Fils-Aime did reveal today that the Wii U will work with up to two GamePads. Traditional Wii controllers, as well as Nintendo’s new secondary Pro Controller, will also work with the Wii U for multiplayer game play.

The GamePad has a 6.2-inch touchscreen display and a forward-facing camera, and in addition to acting as a controller for the Wii U gaming system, it offers standalone games, video chatting and Internet browsing.

It now also has near field communication (NFC), which allows for the wireless sharing of data between devices.

Nintendo faces formidable competition from other console makers like Microsoft and Sony, both of which have introduced motion-sensor and gesture control technology to their newer gaming consoles in the past year and a half. Microsoft in particular has built up the library of media and entertainment apps available on Xbox 360 to draw consumers who aren’t necessarily hardcore gamers — an audience that Nintendo had previously been successful in wooing.

Nintendo reported that it sold 4.5 million Wii units in 2011, having gotten a boost during the holiday season. Last year, the game maker dropped the price of the six-year-old console to $150 from $200.

In the video posted Sunday, Iwata said the Wii U system was a much more friendly environment compared to the war-torn, trash-talking environments found on Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation 3.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald