The E3 show in Los Angeles is a chance for the great and the good of the gaming world to meet every year and see the latest games and gadgets. At the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood Nintendo chose to reveal some more details of the upcoming Wii console.
The company got off to a flashy start, one befitting the production values of this glamorous Hollywood stage, home to the Academy Awards. The stage show was a well-co-ordinated display of lights, video and enthusiastic Nintendo reps evangelising about the future, all delivered to a crowd of 3,000.
But the firm offered few specifics on the Wii. Nintendo kept mum on the shipping date and price, but did confirm that Wii is coming in the fourth quarter of 2006. It also confirmed that 27 games will be on display at the show – though how many of these might be available at launch was not discussed.
Sidestepping the price issue, Reggie Fils-Aime, chief marketing officer at Nintendo, enthused: "You'll get more fun for less money."
This statement suggests that the Wii will sell for less than its competitors from Microsoft and Sony.
The slogan is 'playing = believing'. Much of this believing revolves around the immersive experience that the Wii's motion-sensitive controller will provide. The rectangular controller is starkly simple in its design, an approach that company president Satoru Iwata believes will be vital to achieving Nintendo's mission with the Wii.
"Our goal is to expand the total number of people playing games," says Iwata. "To do this, we needed to target gamers who played and had lost interest, as well as those who have never played."
The one-handed design of the controller, adds Iwata, "breaks down the barrier for non-gamers. The most difficult job is to approach people who have never played before."
At launch, Nintendo plans to have baseball, golf, and tennis games available, all of which take advantage of the new controller's ability to translate physical motions into game actions.
The controller is wired (unlike Sony's newly announced Bluetooth motion-sensitive controller). Unique to Nintendo's controller is the ability to provide the movement, or depth, to sounds you'll encounter in gameplay. This is thanks to its integrated speaker. You'll hear sound travel from the remote to the TV as you shoot an arrow or gun, for example.
The event included several game demos, such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which will ship at the same time as the Wii launches.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the announcement was the lack of discussion about what kind of storage medium Wii will use.