Living room entertainment just got one step closer to having a true three-dimensional virtual environment: Nintendo's new Wii U tablet remote control scans a virtual world in 360 degrees as the user moves it in orbit around his or her body. The brand new technology opens exciting possibilities for not just gaming, but for the exploding tablet market.
The video below that we were able to obtain from the E3 press booth shows a prototype game where one player with the Wii U assumes a starship, which hunts two players on the ground controlled by the standard Wii remote control.
Just like how the Wii remote become the intellectual epicenter for the next generation of motion-controlled consoles, Wii U will likely set the standard for multiple screen and 3-D experiences. Games are now interactive in all 360 degrees. In the video below of a different game, the user jerks the Wii U in all directions to block arrows that are being shot from all sides.
The new technology opens up a few intriguing possibilities:
- Augmented reality for virtual Reality: During the announcement, the Wii U acted as a sniper scope for a first-person shooter, giving it the feeling of the actual two-lens experience of a real sniper. The Wii U technology could just as easily overlay statistics or trivia during a movie (as will soon be done at sports events) or act as infrared goggles during a sci-fi first person shooter. Additionally, the agonizingly slow process of menu-switching could come to an end as we know it thanks to the Wii U's ability to handle all logistics on a separate screen. So far, the wildest multiple screen possibilities that TV networks could come up with was TV everywhere, which has given the Wii U a lot of unclaimed creative territory to grab.
- Individual and cooperative experiences: In the game demoed above, the player controlling the spaceship with the Wii U was a competitor, but she could just have easily been a teammate, perhaps a navigator with X-ray vision, someone looking out for flanking enemies from the sides, or a helicopter pilot scanning for a fleeing criminal from a bird's-eye view while her partner chases the criminal through an urban neighborhood.
- Tablets become an identity wallet: As tablets begin to store more personal data and preferences, its logical that TVs, movie screens, and retailers will build devices that are sensitive to the stored tastes of each user. A Wii system at a friend's house would, in the future, automatically recognize personal button configurations and download save points from the cloud (cloud-based game saving is being offered by Xbox). Personal tablets would become as ubiquitous as wallets once were, only now they'll interact with electronics, expedite shopping and theme park experiences, and be used as a more reasonably sized augmented reality lens.
In other words, with Nintendo's new interactive tablet technology, screens are no longer just for consuming, but augmenting the world around us.