By Jonathan Charles | Jun 15, 2012 10:29 AM EDT
Speaking to UK newspaper The Telegraph, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said he feels confident about the Wii U's prospects and predicted its rivals are already copying the console. Ahead of the 2012 launch, the E3 conference was seen as a let-down by many as Nintendo failed to present a clear picture of the consoles capabilities.
At E3 2012 Nintendo showed Pikmin 3, Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition - a GamePad-enabled version of 2011's title - and Nintendo Land, a mini-game collection with proof-of-concept titles turned into real games. The latter is the Wii U's Wii Sports, according to Nintendo.
"On the stage we couldn't fully explain what's so unique about our product. It's only after people come to our booth and have the hands-on experience with the Wii U they started to realise that it is a surprise. The excitement is very high every day, and I'm really happy to see smiling faces at our booth," Iwata said in the interview.
Post-conference, Spike TV heard Platinum Games is developing a micro-managing RTS game codenamed P-100 and Ubisoft is working on survival horror title ZombieU. The latter showed genuinely interesting GamePad functionality, with players using the tablet to enter a key code to open doors or search through the inventory, in real time.
Iwata added people who visited the company's E3 booth saw the console as unique, comparing the announcement to the Wii's in 2008. To generate excitement, there could be a bundled-in game like Wii Sports. Iwata isn't sure what that will be, but Nintendo Land seems to be the early contender.
Some mainstream press have reported wrongly on the Wii U, describing the GamePad as an accessory to the Wii, even saying it could help to restart the console which is falling in sales. Despite some confusion, Iwata is aware of new competition: Xbox SmartGlass and PlayStation Vita cross-play functionality. In particular, SmartGlass will provide additional functionality: in a game such as NFL Madden, for example, players will be able to direct plays or receive a map showing a character's location in an episode of Game of Thrones.
"After our showing of motion control [with the Wii], it took three years for other companies to follow suit. But this time it's just one year after our proposal, even before we've released the actual product. I think that proves the great potential of what we've showed so far," Iwata added. He referred to Microsoft and Sony's Kinect and PlayStation Move motion-sensing accessories, respectively. Microsoft has sold 10 million Kinect devices, despite the lack of highly-rated titles and one of its bigger releases - Star Wars Kinect - being seen as a critical failure.
Iwata also spoke on Microsoft's and Sony's next-gen consoles, expected to be announced at E3 2013 with increased performance, and asked would "consumers be able to realise the difference enough so they can understand it's much superior to today's machine?" The Wii U has received some criticism for not providing a generational jump in performance, instead being comparable to current HD consoles.
"And also, if they beef up the processing power, that simply means much more work for software developers to take advantage of those spec numbers. So I have to ask the question if this kind of differentiation really makes any sense," the Nintendo president questioned.
Nintendo is a company losing money, so the Wii U's importance has only risen. Iwata believes Nintendo can offer unique experiences with the Wii U. Consumer demand will ultimately decide the console's future.
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