Nintendo's keynote at E3 2012 has left some fans and viewers with unanswered questions about its next generation console, the Wii U. The long-time gaming company had not included any information about a release date or price for the system, and has left some heavy hitters in the Nintendo universe out of the equation thus far.
Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime sat down with Kotaku to address some of the unanswered questions burning in players' minds following E3 2012. Although Nintendo unveiled what seemed to be a ton of information on the Wii U, there are still gaps left in how some of the new ideas and concepts introduced will actually play out for gamers.
One critical issue addressed immediately was the GamePad controller's short-lived battery life, which is expected to last for three to five hours and cannot recharge while playing. Although prototype controller at E3 featured a power input at the top of the controller, Fils-Aime said the final version will charge from the bottom.
"I have to say that as a company, we are amazingly conservative when it comes to giving guidance on things like battery life," the Nintendo of America President said to Kotaku. Fils-Aime referred to a previous discussion on the Nintendo 3DS, where the battery life numbers given before the device's launch were different from the actual post-release product.
"So what I would tell you is that Nintendo is absolutely committed to making sure that the battery life for the Wii U will not get in the way of the gaming experience," he said.
Off-TV Play, also described as "asymmetrical gaming," is a new concept introduced by Nintendo that also may leave some video gamers confused. The Wii U GamePad controller will allow players to participate in games directly on the controller's touch screen without the use of a television. This enables gamers to play simultaneously in different roles during the same game. However, Fils-Aime said that although each game has the possibility for Off-TV Play, it's ultimately the game studio's choice.
"[Off-TV Play is a] capability that is there for every game but it's a developer's choice if they want to be part of the experience," he said .
Nintendo has previously expressed interest in attracting the "hardcore gaming" community back to the Wii franchise, and the release of a Pro Controller may help to facilitate that. But when the controller was unveiled, many drew striking similarities to that of the Xbox 360.
"And you could say that our competitive controllers look a lot like our controller," he responded to Kotaku when asked about the similar design. "Fundamentally, ergonomically, it's driven by what feels good in the hand. The controller has been in development for quite some time, and it's based on feedback that, for certain games and for certain experiences, that type of controller offers a richer experience."
The Wii U is expected to put a large emphasis on social interaction with its upgraded MiiVerse, which is essentially a virtual community of Nintendo gamers. The avatars of players in the owner's area and friends would display on the home screen, creating an interactive social network within the console. This includes the ability to write messages visible to everyone in the player's MiiVerse. As Cracked.com also pointed out, this could lead to problems with profanity, which Fils-Aime addressed. There will be parental controls built into the MiiVerse, which will enable parents to completely disable MiiVerse conversation if they choose to do so.
"The second level is going to be essentially a technology-driven scan to make sure that inappropriate words and inappropriate picture don't make it to the MiiVerse," he said.
There will also be a community that will police and flag items, in addition to human review at Nintendo.
Fils-Aime also revealed further insight into system-level achievements, friend codes, data storage, 3DS connection and more. However, there was still no word on what the price would be upon release or the game line-up expected for the Wii U's launch.
Although there is no official price set for the Wii U, game industry analyst Michael Pachter said that the Wii U price should not be higher than $300, according to CVG.
"The console must be priced below $300 to succeed, in my opinion, and best at $249 or less," he said.