After giving my impressions of Sony's and Microsoft's respective efforts at e3, it's time to turn to Nintendo. Since tomorrow is Nintendo's stated day to focus on 3DS stuff, today it was pretty much all Wii U. I think there was a lot there to keep the Nintendo faithful happy, but I think overall there's still some work to be done for those who felt burned by the Wii or who didn't respond to the 3DS. Regardless, here is my impression of what I thought the highlights were:
The big news of course was something that I personally predicted as a must-have--second Wii U touchscreen controller support. The downside is that game frame rates will drop to as low as 30 FPS and there may be other performance hits (similar to when today's games go 3D), but at least the option is there. Hopefully it gets properly leveraged and optimizations found, because, as before, I maintain it's important that at least the second player have as rich of an experience as the first player for most games to be the same amount of fun for both.
As for the screen-less Wii U Pro Controller, it looks like a solid hybrid of the Xbox 360 and PS3 controller, and I expect it to work well. Between the touchscreen controller and this Pro Controller and the HD and other technical improvements under the hood, clearly the Wii U will be able to easily handle any traditional game type that the present competition can, which is something that the original Wii struggled mightily with.
Nintendo Land (NintendoLand, Nintendoland)
This is already being billed as the Wii U's Wii Sports equivalent, and I think it would make an ideal pack-in, since it's designed to showcase nearly all of the new features of the system and touchscreen controller.
The Games and Apps
The same stuff here as Microsoft and Sony. You're either excited by new editions of the same sequels and series games, or you're not. There were of course a few new titles that looked interesting (ZombiU for one), but I don't think we'll really know enough about them to get really excited until these things get further along in development. Announcements of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc., were obvious, and Nintendo needs to keep the services coming and make them available at or near launch.
Ship Date and Pricing
Nintendo was surprisingly coy about this. We're still getting "this holiday" and no price point. I'm sticking with $299 - $349 and the end of November as the best guesses.
Overall, Nintendo did OK here, but I think it lacked a bit of the sizzle I was hoping for. I'm thinking a lot of that will come over the next few months now that all of the basics have been covered here at e3. With that said, I suppose the last big thing for e3 2012 will be to see what's up with the 3DS tomorrow, which could simply be new games, but could go all the way up to a new variation of the system. Stay tuned...