Kotaku has an awesome article up on their site which confirms a whole bunch of Wii U facts that have been otherwise ignored in the mainstream gaming press. The very first thing they look at is the Wii U GamePad battery life. Nintendo has publicly announced the GamePad will last for five hours of continuously gaming on a single charge, but in their interview with Reggie Fils-Aime, Kotaku was told that Nintendo is always conservative with their numbers. When the 3DS was originally announced Nintendo said it had a battery life between three to eight hours depending if the 3D was turned on, screen brightness, etc. Reggie told Kotaku that people should look at the 3DS as an example of how conservative Nintendo are with their estimates. So my question to you guys is, do you get a good three to eight hours of battery life from your 3DS or more? From my experience if Reggie wants us to look at the 3DS as an example, then the odds are good that the five hours of quoted battery life for the Wii U GamePad will indeed prove exactly right. My 3DS lasts close to three hours because I always play with the 3D slider on max. Reggie also confirmed the obvious, that players will be able to play while their GamePad is plugged into the system recharging.
The next issue that popped up was one dealing with using the GamePad for play while someone else is on the TV. Reggie said officially this functionality is called Off-TV Play and if a game supports it, it will be featured on the game box. At this point in time Nintendo is not forcing developers to use this feature.
Reggie also confirmed the three levels of moderation in their upcoming Miiverse, which we already discussed in a previous article. The Miiverse will allow users to flag inappropriate messages, an automated system will block out profane dialogue and a real living person will read each and every message before it is posted. On top of that players will have the option of using strong parental controls which can block out the Miiverse entirely, or filter it so only verified friends can leave messages. Reggie also said that most messages would not be read by a human for game tips and things like that. If the automated filter doesn’t pick up any words it’ll be posted right away.
One of the biggest question marks has been whether or not the Wii U includes any form of achievement system. Reggie confirmed, much like the 3DS, that there is an achievement system in place, but it’s entirely up to developers whether or not they want to use them. On the 3DS there are Street Pass achievements players can unlock, and there will be a similar system in place for the Wii U, but Nintendo is not forcing developers to make use of it.
Hate those horrible friend codes, well sadly they’re coming back, although they won’t be as obtrusive as they were on the 3DS. Reggie said that you’ll have a certain level of interaction with the general public, but more intimate options once you’re actually a friend with someone. He said more information would be revealed at a later time, but that some sort of friend code system would indeed be used, albeit much more user friendly. I’m really curious to see exactly what Reggie means here.
Now for some excellent news. All of your Wii digital purchases either from the Virtual Console or WiiWare will be transferable to the Wii U. Nuff said!
Reggie also confirmed stuff we already knew about. 3DS to Wii U connectivity will be possible, and Super Smash Bros. will show some clever stuff using both systems. He also reiterated the fact that the Wii U only contains a very small (8GB) amount of internal flash memory, but that users could upgrade this via external HDD and SD cards. Finally he said that using a multi-touch screen just didn’t seem like a good use os resources given how players will hold the controller. Personally that seems like an odd choice since using both thumbs to type a sentence via Miiverse actually seems ideal.
That about wraps up their story, and confirms quite a bit of information we haven’t been able to confirm or deny earlier. So a huge shout out to Kotaku for such an excellent article. Now it’s question time. What are your thoughts on the return of some sort of friend code? Remember that the 3DS has a system friend code, so perhaps it will be something like that? What about everything else, what are your thoughts on all this news?