E3 2012: Five unanswered questions about Wii U

Nintendo shows off a huge number of Wii U games, but still leaves us in the dark on some basic details.

James Martin/CNET

LOS ANGELES--Nintendo showed off nearly two dozen games for the Wii U at its E3 2012 press conference. That's a deep software bench, but with all the emphasis on games, many important questions about the Wii U hardware and user experience have been left unanswered.

How will streaming media work? Nintendo says Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and other video sources will be available, but there were no further details. Is Nintendo going to have its own video store? Unlikely, but will there be any significant exclusive video content that other consoles don't have? How about live TV, the new holy grail of consoles?

How will two-tablet gameplay work? Even though it was not confirmed until today, everyone knew the Wii U would have to eventually support dual GamePad tablets. But, the company says only single-tablet gameplay is ready to show at E3. This adds to the mix of different ways you can play, combining GamePads, the Xbox-like Wii U controller, and Wii wands.

What is the range of the GamePad signal? Does it use common network tech, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi? We hear the answer is no. Using the GamePad without having to turn on your TV sounds interesting. But, can you take it into the next room? Even to the far side of a large living room? Otherwise the ability to play a game while someone else is watching your big TV may be limited.

How similar will Miiverse be to Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network? At first glance, the new Miiverse social network looks a lot like your collection of Miis on the Wii (try saying that five times fast). There is text-bubble communication and even video chat via GamePad, but will your Miiverse Mii act as a true single avatar for the player across games, media, and other features? Will there be a premium version, like Microsoft and Sony have?

How much will the Wii U and the GamePad cost? We already suspected Nintendo would not reveal this information at E3, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be asking for it. With a release no more than five or six months away, it's time to start thinking seriously about how the Wii U is going to position itself.

What are your most burning Wii U questions? Let us know in the comments section below.

Check out CNET's full E3 2012 coverage.

 

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