Nintendo highlights upcoming Wii U Miiverse functionality, lots of new games

With the popularity of Nintendo's Miiverse on Wii U flourishing, the company today announced big changes coming to the service -- while also noting a sizable selection of new game announcements.
As the first company out of the gates for the new generation of video game consoles, eyes were once again on Nintendo, which today made an effort to get consumers excited again about the Wii U. With the popularity of Nintendo's Miiverse on Wii U flourishing, the company today revealed big changes coming to the service, that it says will expand usability -- while also noting a sizable selection of new game announcements. As part of a Nintendo Direct broadcast, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained that from this spring, players will be able to create their own communities alongside the official game communities, essentially allowing them to hold their own discussions about particular games with friends. Discussing the upcoming Wii Fit U exercise game, Iwata noted that this new game community functionality will mean that friends can come together to discuss specific workouts, exchange health routines and encourage each other to reach their training goals. Developers will be able to create more than one official community for each of their titles. Official developer Wii U accounts are going to be made available too, so that studios can involve players in a game's development. Developers will be able to share YouTube videos via Miiverse. The previously announced Miiverse smartphone functionality is on the way as part of the spring update, and will initially be browser-based. A dedicated app for mobile devices will launch later in the year.

Games, games, games

Iwata wanted to assure Wii U consumers that, although there has been a lack of new games since the console launched, there are plenty on the way.

"I apologize for the lack of new titles in January and February," he said, before revealing new titles for the console including two new The Legend of Zelda games. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD will take the original GameCube title and completely revamp it, with new visuals and tweaked gameplay. It's due for release this fall. Another unnamed Zelda game -- a brand new one for the Wii U -- aims to rethink the classic Zelda linear-based adventure, and allow players to tackle dungeons in whatever order they choose. There's also the possibility that multiplayer will be part of the game.

Furthermore, Iwata had many more new titles to mention, including a new game from Xenoblade Chronicles developer Monolith Soft, a Yoshi game in the same vein as Kirby's Epic Yarn, and a Shin Megami Tensei vs Fire Emblem cross-over. And he was keen to note that there are new 3D Mario, Mario Kart and Wii Party games on the way too -- as well as reiterating that Bayonetta 2 and Smash Bros. Wii U are incoming. To top it all off, the Virtual Console is due to launch on the Wii U soon, and in the buildup to its launch Nintendo is running a series of special discounts on Virtual Console games over the coming weeks.

Balloon Fight is available now from the eShop for Wii U, and costs just 30 cents, while other titles will appear for this price each week, including Super Metroid, Donkey Kong, and F-Zero. Iwata noted that those Wii users hoping to move their previously bought Virtual Console games over to the Wii U will have to pay to do so -- although this will be offered at a cut price, rather than for the full asking price.

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