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Sunday, June 12, 2011
Wii U Unites Divided Gaming World
At the world's biggest showcase for video games, Nintendo made the biggest splash this week with the unveiling of Wii U -- the next generation of its popular, motion-controlled gaming system.
The system's major advance, displayed for the first time this week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), is a handheld controller with its own 6.2-inch touchscreen. That remote lets you play games on the controller and on the television at the same time, allowing for new gaming possibilities.
Many gaming writers who got their hands on the system -- which is in its early stages and is expected to be released in 2012 -- were impressed with its potential. Others were, at best, confused or unimpressed.
That response reminded Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's global president, of the debut of another product -- the original Wii, which would go on to become the top-selling game console in the world.
Iwata sat down with CNN on Wednesday to discuss, through an interpreter, gamer reactions to Wii U, its potential as a game changer for both casual and hardcore gamers, and what that weird name is all about.
The following is an edited transcript:
CNN: How do you feel the reactions have been to the Wii U?
Iwata: As long as the people have actually visited E3 and experienced the Wii U in our booth, the feedback is very positive. I feel a little difference between impressions of the ones who have actually visited the E3 show site and ones who are far away from this place.
It reminds me of how we presented Wii for the first time at E3 in 2006. I think this is one of the evidences to say that the Wii U is actually trying to present something unprecedented -- something very unique.
In other words, whenever anything new, anything unprecedented, is introduced to the market, the reaction is almost always mixed.
CNN: There was even some confusion over whether Wii U is actually a new console or just a controller. What can you share about the console itself?
Iwata: In an opportunity such as an E3 presentation, what we could show is a simple box. People might get the idea that this is a little bit bigger size of the existing Wii, nothing else. We focused on demonstrating something really unique, which was this new controller.
But some people had some misunderstanding -- that this (controller) alone might let you play games or that this might be a peripheral for the existing Wii game.