E3 2012: Nintendo officially unveils new Wii U GamePad

We all saw the tweet about an updated Wii U tablet controller. Well, Nintendo has outed that controller officially, and it contains all the changes we saw in the leak, and some other smaller tidbits we’re just learning about now.

First up, the GamePad is its new name, taking it’s great-great-great-grandfather’s name, all the way back to the NES GamePad. There are both white and black versions floating around as Nintendo showed off in their Nintendo Direct Pre-E3 2012 Presentation, but it doesn’t seem like Nintendo to release both colours at once given that they took two years to do that with the Wii.

The small button on the bottom right of the GamePad is actually a TV power button and the GamePad will also have universal remote software to let you control your TV. Finally, a controller that doesn’t force you to use anything else to control the television. It’s only taken companies about two decades to figure that one out.

Next up is the little square mark below the left analog stick and directional pad. This is actually for NFC (near-field communications) apps like the Skylanders accessories that have become so popular lately. We’re more of the opinion that the screen should have just had an NFC layer embedded into it, and the screen would become the platform for NFC, but unless they change the controller again, don’t count on that happening.

Yes, analog sticks have been confirmed, but they also click, which can be a huge benefit to players for shooters and other hardcore games. Of course, the screen has remained resistive, not capacitive as we’d like to see, but you can’t have everything.

So far, we haven’t seen a price for the Wii U and it is unlikely we’ll hear a date for the console’s release at their press conference, but we’re thinking it’ll be the usual Sunday in November that the company always releases their big stuff – that’s somewhere right around the 18th of the month.