In a prerecorded, pre-E3 press conference, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has unveiled an alternate controller for the Wii U. The main feature of the Wii U is a controller with a built-in touch screen, but this might not be the optimal choice when it comes to games released across multiple platforms and not utilizing the secondary screen feature, or for a second to fourth controller that doesn’t cost as much as the tricked-out main controller.
As you can see, Nintendo seems to have taken the Xbox 360 controller as more than just a slight inspiration. The only striking difference is the placement of the face buttons, which have switched places with the right analog stick on the 360 controller. Of course I can’t know without trying it, but that location for the face buttons seems kind of awkward at first glance. Manipulating an analog stick at that location is one thing, but tapping independent buttons there seems like it could be ungainly, which could be the reason no dual analog stick controller to date has adopted such a configuration.
In addition to the new Pro Controller, the main touch-screen controller, now officially named the “Wii U GamePad”, has undergone some changes from the prototype version:
As you can see above, proper analog sticks have replaced the circular nubs of the prototype, and have been shifted away from the D-Pad and face buttons, respectively. Further, the overall GamePad is now wider, and I have circled an indicator for an announced NFC transceiver or “Reader/Writer”, which can be used with cards or the like with their own NFC chips to expand the game experience (making the inevitable port of Skylanders to the Wii U that much easier).
In addition to and by means of a ridiculous skit, the press conference also details the community features of the Wii U and examples of the interaction between the GamePad and the main console. You can catch the entire conference at the link below; be sure to check out the neat implementation for a golf game at 7:07.