Early this morning while we were all either celebrating or bemoaning the fact that Obama got a second term, Nintendo of Japan released a few videos showing us what is in the box of the premium Wii U set, as well as describing more about the now officially named WaraWara Plaza. And to top it all off, Reggie and Iwata do a video chat.
The videos straight from Japan are unfortunately not available at the moment to embed, so I will link to them in a bit. We do have an English video, however, that summarized some of the things learned from the Japanese ones.
The first thing we learn from Bill Trinen (the guy who does many of the translations for Nintendo titles) is that the Wii U Plaza is now officially named the WaraWara Plaza because of positive feedback about the name. When you turn on the Wii U, you will go to the plaza, and comments from the Miis on your system will show up next to the games they are referring to. You can switch the display from the TV to the GamePad at any time, and by using the stylus, you can touch on individual Miis to get more info about them or reply to their comments.
Next in the video, we get to see Iwata and Reggie make a video call using Wii U Chat. Reggie is in America while Iwata in Japan, and it seems to work fairly well. A new thing they showed is that you can draw on the screen while having a chat. Iwata traced Reggie and then wrote “Let’s have a good Wii U launch!” on the screen. In a surprise move, Reggie spoke some Japanese, then slammed a Bigfoot pizza. Bill mentions that the video chat can happen solely on the GamePad, so someone can be watching TV while you chat or you and your partner could be watching the same show or sport and talk about it, for example.
That was basically all of this English summarized version of the Japanese videos, but luckily Nintendo of Europe has subtitled versions of what Japan saw.
The first is simply an unboxing video direct from Iwata. It was his first time opening the production box of the Wii U, so he has interesting commentary. The guts of the box basically resemble those of the Wii when it first launched.
The second video discusses Accounts on the Wii U. Goodbye Friend Codes! You can create up to twelve user accounts per Wii U console, and saved games, game settings, browser bookmarks, and play history will be saved for each individual. When you turn on the Wii U, you are asked to select your Mii from those saved to the console. To use online features, you will need to create a Nintendo Network ID using your DoB, Gender, Area of Residence, and Email Address. Your Network ID acts like a Friend Code, which I am assuming means that you only need to know a name to register friends instead of a ridiculous list of numbers. Games downloaded via the eShop and DLC will be shared by all users of the machine.
The video goes on to say that the Nintendo Network will eventually work with other developers’ services, but nothing specific was mentioned. Basically, you can log on using your Network ID to other services. I am guessing this is how online multiplayer will work with games. “You can use each software developer’s service using your Nintendo Network ID,” Iwata says in the video. More good news is that in the future this ID will be used with other Nintendo hardware, so hopefully there is a 3DS update for this soon. Coming next year, this ID will be used on smartphones in a Nintendo app and on PCs.
Lastly, it looks like games you have bought on your Wii can be transferred to the Wii U via an SD card. Nice.
That is all the news we have so far. If anything happens in the US today regarding this business, I will update this post.