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Nintendo reveals Wii U's Miiverse social network ahead of E3

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Nintendo reveals Wii U's Miiverse social network ahead of E3

Nintendo’s new Wii U console will embrace social networking, according to a video presentation released ahead of the E3 video games conference.

The machine will promote the Miiverse in which users can see what others are playing, share self-created game content and swap gaming tips.

The firm said members would eventually be able to connect to the network via its 3DS handheld, PCs and smartphones.

The Japanese firm posted its first annual loss in April.

Its share price has nearly halved since it first announced the Wii U last year after investors expressed doubts about the potential of the next-generation device.

Zombie tips

The presentation, by the firm’s global president Satoru Iwata, said that when users turned on their console it would show animated avatars on the television screen flocking towards the most popular games at that time.

However, the focus of the network is on a smaller touchscreen on the Wii U Game Pad.

This can be used to send typed or handwritten messages to other Miiverse members as well as drawings.

A video trailer showed one player using the device to quiz other gamers about how to kill a zombie. The actor then placed the handset next to his television to launch a video chat with another user.

“We believe it can solve the issue of ‘alone together’,” said Mr Iwata.

“We believe it enables the sharing of more smiles, more laughs and more empathy.”

However, Patrick Garratt, founder of gaming website VG247, expressed reservations.

“The social aspects in the presentation show Nintendo realises people now need to be constantly connected through their digital devices, but my concern is that the entire system appears to be closed,” he said.

“Without a wholesale embrace of Twitter and Facebook I think you have to ask serious questions about how well Nintendo understands the social networking space.”

The presentation also showed changes made to the game pad from the version displayed last year including redesigned thumbsitck controllers, extra buttons and a card slot to add data to the device.

Cyborg swordfights

Video games publisher Konami also opted to release a pre-show announcement video.

It included trailers for the firm’s upcoming Metal Gear Rising Revengeance – an action title featuring a cyborg ninja due out “early 2013” – and the latest in its vampire series, Castlevania: Lord of Shadows 2.

The coming days will bring a plethora of announcements from other firms at the trade show. Close to 200 are hosting exhibits.

Keynote presentations from Microsoft and Sony will be the focus of the event’s first day.

Both companies have said they would not debut their next-generation consoles at this year’s event. So the focus will instead be on how they will attempt to maintain interest in the seven-year-old Xbox 360 and six-year-old Playstation 3.

Source: BBC News


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