Wii U to Have Better Friend System, Kid-Friendly Communication, and Single-Touch Functionality

Kotaku recently interviewed Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime about some of the lesser known aspects of the Wii U, including its stance on used games and achievements, its battery life, and the friend system. I’ve compiled a list of the questions and answers below:

How long will the GamePad’s battery last?

An important question I’m sure all gamers want to know. So far the Wii U’s controllers are said to hold up to five hours of battery life, but you can still use the GamePad while it’s charging. For that reason, the input for the charger will be placed on the bottom of the controller (unlike on the current prototypes) for comfort.

How will online communications be monitored in the MiiVerse?

As a clearly kid-friendly company, Nintendo is putting a lot of effort into making the online conversations that take place via the MiiVerse as clean as possible. This will be the process that every piece of chat will have to go through:

  1. Parental controls can turn chat function off entirely, limit it to friends only, or leave it open to everyone.
  2. A computer-generated scan will check every message for inappropriate words or pictures.
  3. The community itself will be able to monitor and flag comments.
  4. If a comment is flagged, a Nintendo employ will review it and determine what happens to it.

So if you’re concerned that all of this security will slow your messages down, Nintendo would like to assure you that as long as the technical scan doesn’t catch anything inappropriate, your message will not have to wait.

Will there be achievements on the Wii U?

Not in the traditional sense. There may be some system-based achievements like there are on the 3DS, and some developers may choose to include achievements in their games, but that’s up to them.

Is the friend system going to change for the Wii U?

Yes, but perhaps not as much as some gamers might like. Reggie Fils-Aime explains,

“There are friend codes, but it’s not the existing friend code system. What do I mean by that? Here’s what I mean: you will be able to identify people as friends and have a certain level of interaction vs. a different level of interaction for the more general population. The method by which you identify someone as a friend is a lot simpler than what’s happening today with Friend Codes.”

No further details were shared, but he indicated that he believed people will be happier with the new system.

What about the digital content I’ve downloaded onto my Wii?

It will be transferable.

So will the Wii U have more storage then?

No, Nintendo is still emphasizing external storage in the form of USB ports.

Will the GamePad support multi-touch functionality?

Most touchscreen devices nowadays use multi-touch functionality all the time. Once you’ve gotten used to them, it’s almost second-nature to want to pinch your fingers together or push them apart in order to zoom in or zoom out. Such a thing will not be available on the GamePad. What with the other controls on the GamePad, it was thought that multi-touch would not be a very viable option.

What’s the Wii U’s stance on used games?

Many people have been speculating about whether the next generation of consoles would be putting certain innovations in place in order to prevent (or at least limit) people from playing used games. When it comes to the Wii U, Fils-Aime says,

“We don’t have a policy surrounding used games. We have not put in place any technology to go after the used game business.”

What about the ability to stop playing a game on the TV and take it to go?

Off-TV Play (as it’s called) will be available for some games, but only at the developers’ descretion.

To read more about the Wii U, check out our Pre-E3 and E3 coverages. Check out a list of games confirmed for the Wii U here and see the controller trailer for ZombiU (which demonstrates how the GamePad might function with Wii U games) here.

Mentioned games: