updated 12:33 am EDT, Mon June 4, 2012
Gamepad integrates NFC, infrared transmitter
Nintendo has unveiled the final version of its Wii U Gamepad, along with an Xbox-style "Pro Controller" that will serve as an alternative to the display-equipped handheld. The production Gamepad does not bring many surprises, as its overall aesthetics and features mostly match existing promises, though the Pro Controller introduction confirms that the company has worked to accomodate traditional console gaming.
The Gamepad appears to integrate the same 6.2-inch touchscreen that was previously confirmed, however the joysticks have been moved closer to the edge of the device. As expected, users will also be able to take advantage of a NFC reader/writer, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, and a infrared transmitter to control televisions and other A/V equipment.
The black-clad Pro Controller is designed with a form similar to Xbox controllers, omitting the Gamepad's touchscreen and TV buttons but maintaining the same hardware controls. The company was criticized for ignoring classic gaming when it introduced the original Wii, with its stick-style remote, however the Pro Controller returns to the familiar form from which Microsoft and Sony never diverged.
Both announcements arrived as a bit of a weekend surprise, upstaging Microsoft's Monday-morning press conference that typically kicks off the media events at E3. Nintendo may not be finished, however, as it has also scheduled a Tuesday press conference.