Pre-E3 Nintendo Direct Shows Final Wii U Gamepad, Pro Controller, & Miiverse

The Big N does away with the two day wait formalities and livestreamed a bunch of new info about the final look to the Wii U’s controller, a Pro Controller, and an online service called Miiverse.

Wii U Gamepad Iwata Nintendo Direct Pre E3 Image 1

Sunday afternoon surprisingly became the kick-off for E3 2012, when Nintendo decided to hold a live Nintendo Direct event two days before they were supposed to take the stage for their early Tuesday-morning presser. Hmm, Nintendo living dangerously, I see. Me likey.

And you’ll surely “likey”, at least Nintendo hopes you do, the final production version for the Nintendo Wii U’s controller, or rather, the Wii U Gamepad. Yup, that’s the set-in-stone name for the tablet-shaped peripheral that was previously revealed by an Twitter-image leak to have changed up its design since last year’s E3.

Wii U Gamepad Prototype Product Image 1

The circle pads gone? Check. Analog-sticks in? Double check, but as demoed via the Nintendo Direct livestream, they’re also clickable – think of the PlayStation 3’s analog-sticks. Also, this latest version of the Gamepad even accounts for long-playing sessions, ergonomically; it has rounded grips, and the placement of buttons and the d-pad have been inched closer to the touch-screen.

Wii U Gamepad TV Image 2

Turning to those two perplexing items that were spotted from the leaked images, it turns out now that the little box underneath the d-pad is actually the Wii U’s near field communication technology – much akin to the toy-scanning function used for Activision’s Skylanders – and the button next to the power button is, in fact, a switch that allows the Gamepad to become an infrared TV remote.

Wii U Pro Controller Image

If all those do-dads leave you colder than a slice of bologna in the fridge – fret not hardcore gamer – Nintendo plans on bringing out a more traditional-looking control method, the Wii U Pro Controller, which, I’ll be honest in saying, looks awfully like a Xbox 360 controller. Uh, something, something, good artists copy, great artists something, something.

One last announcement during the Pre-E3 Nintendo Direct was an online system… yes, Nintendo talking about online, as mind-blowing as that sounds… called Miiverse. What will this fusion of the words Mii and Universe provide for potential Wii U users? From Nintendo’s wording, it sounds like a social platform dressed up as an expanded version of its Mii Plaza app from the Nintendo Wii, where players Mii characters campfire gather around specific game icons.

Wii U Miiverse Image

But this social connectivity stretches far beyond its Wii U playing field though, and allows Nintendo 3DS users, heck, even mobile devices (Android and iOS) to interact with other Miiverse citizens, be it through asynchronous gaming, instant messaging, and an update wall that lets friends share random game-musings and screenshots. Did I mentioned “me likey” when Nintendo lives dangerously? Oh, okay. Good.

To think, if this is just an appetizer until their main-stage presser on Tuesday, imagine what else they’ve got in store for us. My Reggie is so ready for E3 2012… I guess I will have to snack on whatever is on Walyou to get by for now, and you should too. Its the only place I know where I can find out about crazy lamps that turn off with the bang of a gun and the best alarm clock you’ll ever wake up to.