Thursday May 11, 2006 5:29 pm
Live From E3: Fun Wii Facts Confirmed
We’re well aware things have been a bit sparse over here, but we have tons of video we’re working on editing, encoding and sending upwards on a ridiculously finicky internet connection. Sit tight, because some of the things we have in store are pretty damn cool.
ANYway, we got into the invite-only portion of the Wii demos and I was able to speak to a few Nintendo employees for their take on the name, questions about the Wiimote and anything else that crossed my mind.
Here are some of the facts we were able to confirm:
- At Launch:
The Wii will ship the same way most every Nintendo console system has: Wii Remote (Wiimote, get it?), Nunchuk and console, with no games. The classic controller will not be included.
The default purchase package for additional controllers will all include the Nunchuk as well. You won’t have to purchase it separately, though they weren’t able to comment on price.
Find out more about the Wii Remote’s battery situation, licensing old titles, what they thought of the name and more, after the jump.
- Batteries Included?
The Wiimote currently uses AA batteries, which I thought was an enormous faux pas. The remote uses Bluetooth to communicate with the console, IR to determine distance from the screen and where you’re aiming, and a series of gyroscopes and accelerometers to figure out what the hell you’re doing. It’s ridiculously accurate and has a blue LED on it, too. And a joystick. And rumbling force-feedback. While they assured me that they were told the controller batteries should last the entire week, they weren’t able to say how long the batteries would last on average (depends on gameplay, and they just didn’t know) and commented that allowing a rechargeable system as an accessory is a definite possibility.
- Dev-Kits Only:
None of the systems in the primary Wii display were actual production systems. The boxes visible were just pretty and lit up all blue, and, like the Xbox 360 last year, were actually using a dev kit under the display.
- Twelve working systems ARE present at the show, but only in the upstairs VIP area of Nintendo’s display.
- How much cheaper than the PS3?
Looking deeper for a solid source on the price, they simply have not yet been informed. One developer said “I’ll say it’ll cost between $149 and $299, just to be safe,” but his coworker shook his head and commented “definitely closer to $150.” Take that as you will.
- Wii? Really?
Asking their impression of the name brought about a nice fidget for a good minute. John, one of the developers I spoke with said this: “Let me put it the way my boss did. When Donkey Kong was announced, everyone thought it was the stupidest thing they’d ever heard. Same for GameBoy. And look what happened.” He has a point, but I asked about the scatalogical implications and the junior high humor that comes with a name like Wii and he told me “we were actually surprised we haven’t heard that a great deal more. You’re actually the first, but we were expecting it to be like that non-stop.”
- Licensing Bad Dreams:
Licensing third-party older titles has been a complete nightmare. They’ve come into trouble securing some of the more basic concepts because of intellectual property and licensing laws, along with deals that have occured since the game was release for the original systems. Think: Tetris came out years ago for the NES, but has since had its license sold off to numerous companies, with the latest being mobile gaming developer Jamdat for some ridiculous figure in excess of $100 million dollars. These hurdles are being worked out, but some titles (Goldeneye) just won’t be available.
- Virtual Console:
The back-catalog will be released loosely along a quarterly schedule, like they do with their regular game releases. They believe it’s in everyone’s best interest not to let loose a deluge of Virtual Console titles at the onset, though they didn’t know how many would be available. They’ll let them trickle on down over time, to increase player retention and interest.
- Oh, and the Virtual Console interface was not at all completed. They had a working mockup that let us jump from Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario 64 to Sonic the Hedgehog, and it was just amazing how each game looked as true to form as the original, except on the gorgeous displays they were running on. Fun to see the classics coming back like that.
All in all, it was a great experience, and I ended up sacrificing all the play time I had to get you guys these goods. This is all straight from the horse’s mouth and confirmed by Nintendo worker bees.
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