Wii U: My Mind Is Boggling

THE SMOKE IS STILL CLEARING from Nintendo’s press conference, and I think more than anything, what we’re realizing is that we’ve been victims of a poor presentation. There’s clearly info Nintendo is ready to release on its new console, but picking it out of the briefing wasn’t particularly easy. Here’s what I think we know so far:

– The name: Wii U. As Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime put it, it’s not just “we,” it’s also “you.”

– The system will be HD, 1080p. Technical specifics, like GPU, etc, haven’t been released.

– The highlight of the system, by far, is a giant motion-sensitive controller with a 6.2″ touchscreen.

– The controller will NOT be a portable gaming system: the video will be driven by the console hardware and transmitted wirelessly to the controller.

– The Wii U will run proprietary optical disks, but NOT Blu-Ray.

– The system will be backwards compatible with the Wii, but will not automagically upgrade to HD on the new system; they’ll look the same as on the Wii.

– Information regarding Nintendo’s online network plans should be coming out over the next few days, assumedly via publishing partners showing games at E3.

– The Wii U will release sometime in 2012, with pricing info TBD. Reggie Fils-Aime claims it will offer “competitive value” compared to other systems, but no mention of price.

My take: the name is undeniably weird, even more so than “Wii.” But the touchscreen controller absolutely opens up some fascinating gameplay possibilities. Of course, there’s simple stuff like calling plays in Madden or showing a heartbeat sensor in a tactical action game, but I’m more excited about the stuff no one’s thought up yet. Could you use the touchscreen and stylus as an aiming device for shooters? Are there cool ways to combine the touchscreen and motion sensitivity? I’m excited to see.