May 9, 2006 12:03 PM PDT

Nintendo shows off Wii controller

LOS ANGELES--Nintendo joined the E3 press conference parade on Tuesday morning with an event high on bright lights and suspense but low on news.

Many who attended the event, held in the same Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards take place, anticipated that Nintendo would unveil specific pricing and availability information for its forthcoming next-generation console, the puzzlingly named Wii.

That expectation was especially true after Sony said for the first time at its press conference Monday evening that its PlayStation 3 would hit store shelves on Nov. 17 in North America and would come in two models, a $599 version with a 60GB hard drive and a $499 model with a 20GB hard drive.

Instead, the highlight of Nintendo's press event was the first detailed demonstration of the Wii controller, a two-handed, motion-sensitive system that allows players to mimic actions on-screen with the movement of their hands. Thus, for example, users playing a tennis game will be able to serve by raising their controller above their head and swinging down. Similarly, fighting games will allow players to swing swords or shoot bows and arrows with hand movements.

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Video: See Nintendo's next-gen console, Wii
Conduct an orchestra or play tennis with a flick of the wrist.

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Video: Playing games on the 'Wii'
Nintendo shows off Wii titles like the new "Legend of Zelda".

Asked why Nintendo didn't release pricing and availability information for the Wii (the company said only that the product will be available in the fourth quarter of 2006), Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo executive vice president for sales and marketing, told CNET News.com that the company isn't interested in diverting attention from the roster of 27 Wii games and the controller system it's showing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this week.

"We want (E3) to be about the gaming experience," Fils-Aime said. "Price and availability information becomes a distraction from the playing experience."

Meanwhile, Nintendo briefly addressed the tepid reaction it has gotten for the console's new name, Wii, (it was previously known as the "Revolution").

"We want to thank everyone who wrote good things about it the day you heard about it," Fils-Aime said during his presentation. "Both of you."

But he told CNET News.com that new names always take some getting used to and that Nintendo feels the name (pronounced "we") is very appropriate because it infers inclusion and approachability.

In any case, while Nintendo isn't saying how much Wii will cost, it seems clear it will cost less than both the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360. That's partly because Nintendo is targeting both hard-core gamers and the mass audience of potential players who want simple, fun games that don't require deep game-playing experience.

Nintendo also said it would soon launch the Nintendo DS Lite, a smaller version of its popular DS dual-screen handheld console, which it said had sold 16 million units since launch in late 2004.

And while the company wouldn't say how many Wii titles would be available on launch--which it promised would be in the fourth quarter of 2006, it did say there are 27 titles on display at E3 from publishers like Electronic Arts, Activision, Ubisoft, THQ, Square Enix and others. And those titles include formidable franchises like EA's "Madden NFL," Square Enix's "Final Fantasy" and others.

See more CNET content tagged:
Nintendo Co. Ltd., Nintendo Wii, console, controller, pricing

14 comments

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Conferences
So when is the Nintendo conference over with? And when does the MS conference begin?
Posted by mrpeabody3119 (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Conferences
So when is the Nintendo conference over with? And when does the MS conference begin?
Posted by mrpeabody3119 (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bad title
This article is hardly about the controller. A few lines amidst an
article summing up the show. Come on. I clicked on the article
because I was curious what the thing looked like or how it was
anything different. Instead, I get a few lines saying it is motion
sensitive and that is about it. The rest is fluff about pricing, the
name and the PS3.
Posted by jasonemanuelson1 (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
photo
um, did you click on the photo?
Posted by rfelgueiras (189 comments )
Link Flag
Bad title
This article is hardly about the controller. A few lines amidst an
article summing up the show. Come on. I clicked on the article
because I was curious what the thing looked like or how it was
anything different. Instead, I get a few lines saying it is motion
sensitive and that is about it. The rest is fluff about pricing, the
name and the PS3.
Posted by jasonemanuelson1 (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
photo
um, did you click on the photo?
Posted by rfelgueiras (189 comments )
Link Flag
Too Much Work
As a serious gamer I think this is the most idiotic idea I have ever seen. This may be more appealing to the Japanese audience or whatever, but playing a game with a remote control (or even a two piece controller) makes me cringe. It's just too much work! I mean when I wanna wield a lightsaber, I dont wanna have to get outta my seat and flap my arms around like a dying duck... I wanna lay back in my armchair and mash a few minute buttons, lol. And even if the concept appears logical, there's no possible way this will come even remotely close to wielding one in real life. lol they're trying to create a virtualistic three dimensional world on a flat television screen. Anyone see the problem in this?
Posted by AimsAlpha (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Luckily you don't matter.
Truely, the "hardcore" or "serious" gamer or whatever the heck you want to be marketed as are treated second. Their primary concern isn't you, or me (I'm an avid Halo /2, CS, and FF fanatic by the way), it's the casual gaming market. The people who play a game maybe once a week, month, or year.

"they're trying to create a virtualistic three dimensional world on a flat television screen."

Not like all other games try to simulate a 3-dimensional world in recent history. Think of the Wii as a console with the precision of a mouse point and click, with tilt AND rotation sensing, and the smoothness and variety of a joystick in movement (16-Directions). Granted, this suits FPS games greatly more, so there may be wasted talent if some companies (Valve, etc.) don't look into it.

Look, you don't "flail your arms around" nor anything like that. Slight movements, like those of a mouse, are all that are needed. An example of the kind of movement would be like using a spoon to pick something up, while other controllers are like using, say, 3 chopsticks with 2 fingers. Do you swing the spoon around like crazy? No. Does it require immense amounts of energy? No. Is it more appealable than other methods? That's the key question, IMO.

As far the E3 demonstrations, you have to remember that everyone was spaced far apart, and obviously the sensor had covered a larger area. Thus, the large movements they made in the tennis game would be the equivalent of small movements when placed on a TV...unless you have a 15+ ft. television...in which case you'd probably be able to buy all the systems anyways.
Posted by Tomcat Adam (272 comments )
Link Flag
Too Much Work
As a serious gamer I think this is the most idiotic idea I have ever seen. This may be more appealing to the Japanese audience or whatever, but playing a game with a remote control (or even a two piece controller) makes me cringe. It's just too much work! I mean when I wanna wield a lightsaber, I dont wanna have to get outta my seat and flap my arms around like a dying duck... I wanna lay back in my armchair and mash a few minute buttons, lol. And even if the concept appears logical, there's no possible way this will come even remotely close to wielding one in real life. lol they're trying to create a virtualistic three dimensional world on a flat television screen. Anyone see the problem in this?
Posted by AimsAlpha (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Luckily you don't matter.
Truely, the "hardcore" or "serious" gamer or whatever the heck you want to be marketed as are treated second. Their primary concern isn't you, or me (I'm an avid Halo /2, CS, and FF fanatic by the way), it's the casual gaming market. The people who play a game maybe once a week, month, or year.

"they're trying to create a virtualistic three dimensional world on a flat television screen."

Not like all other games try to simulate a 3-dimensional world in recent history. Think of the Wii as a console with the precision of a mouse point and click, with tilt AND rotation sensing, and the smoothness and variety of a joystick in movement (16-Directions). Granted, this suits FPS games greatly more, so there may be wasted talent if some companies (Valve, etc.) don't look into it.

Look, you don't "flail your arms around" nor anything like that. Slight movements, like those of a mouse, are all that are needed. An example of the kind of movement would be like using a spoon to pick something up, while other controllers are like using, say, 3 chopsticks with 2 fingers. Do you swing the spoon around like crazy? No. Does it require immense amounts of energy? No. Is it more appealable than other methods? That's the key question, IMO.

As far the E3 demonstrations, you have to remember that everyone was spaced far apart, and obviously the sensor had covered a larger area. Thus, the large movements they made in the tennis game would be the equivalent of small movements when placed on a TV...unless you have a 15+ ft. television...in which case you'd probably be able to buy all the systems anyways.
Posted by Tomcat Adam (272 comments )
Link Flag
I foresee a Wii craze here in the US
Some smart developer is going to make an exercise game for the Wii. It'll be billed as "fun way to lose weight." By word of mouth it'll spread like wildfire. Millions of middle-age, fat Americans will rush out and get the Wii. Nintendo will make a boatload of cash selling dumbbell attachments to the Wii controller.
Posted by Chung Leong (111 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I foresee a Wii craze here in the US
Some smart developer is going to make an exercise game for the Wii. It'll be billed as "fun way to lose weight." By word of mouth it'll spread like wildfire. Millions of middle-age, fat Americans will rush out and get the Wii. Nintendo will make a boatload of cash selling dumbbell attachments to the Wii controller.
Posted by Chung Leong (111 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wicked demo
I saw the Revolution demonstration video on the Cnet.com site and it was just wickedly fun.

The idea of using the controller to fire a bow and arrow, and the application for it in FPS games is incredible; it will redefine the genre if it is widely accepted among other consoles, like PC, since it seems to increase response time and immerses you more into the gameplay - if they can port Quake or Doom to the Wii, this would be a super killer app!!!

But what got me was the idea of playing tenis and conducting an orchestra.

Granted, I hate the name (thus I will forever consider it Revolution) but the potential of this machine is evem more significant than even the technology present in PS3 in terms of gaming.
Blasted, I wish Nintendo could port over a majority of games like Silent Hill or Siren for this game; I just hope when Revolution gets a Resident Evil game - it focuses on the spooky stuff more than the action.

Definately a Must Buy.

My Two Cents,
Ned
Posted by techned (200 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wicked demo
I saw the Revolution demonstration video on the Cnet.com site and it was just wickedly fun.

The idea of using the controller to fire a bow and arrow, and the application for it in FPS games is incredible; it will redefine the genre if it is widely accepted among other consoles, like PC, since it seems to increase response time and immerses you more into the gameplay - if they can port Quake or Doom to the Wii, this would be a super killer app!!!

But what got me was the idea of playing tenis and conducting an orchestra.

Granted, I hate the name (thus I will forever consider it Revolution) but the potential of this machine is evem more significant than even the technology present in PS3 in terms of gaming.
Blasted, I wish Nintendo could port over a majority of games like Silent Hill or Siren for this game; I just hope when Revolution gets a Resident Evil game - it focuses on the spooky stuff more than the action.

Definately a Must Buy.

My Two Cents,
Ned
Posted by techned (200 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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