Believe it or not, the Nintendo Wii U isn’t available yet in the company’s home country of Japan. It’s scheduled to launch on December 8th, and so Nintendo took the chance to build hype at an event yesterday where it revealed forthcoming features for the console. Following the event, and just a week after the Living Room Revolution’s highly successful U.K launch, President of Nintendo Europe Satoru Shibata has announced a surprising partnership which will bring Google Maps onto the new home console and will utilise the innovative touchscreen GamePad.
In this week’s Nintendo Direct, the regular video update on all things happening in the world of Wii and 3DS, Shibata revealed a bunch of new games for both home and portable consoles including the anticipated arrival of Mass Effect 3 on Wii U and Paper Mario Sticker Star on 3DS but the highlight of the presentation was the reveal that embracing the apps era, Ninty will be bringing Google Maps to the console sometime in the New Year. From what we’ve seen, the app looks to be very well made and features some intriguing features and uses of the GamePad controller.
Maps can be viewed through your TV in a similar fashion to the PC app, but where things get really interesting is with the GamePad. Google will be bringing its Streetview mapping to the console, with the GamePad’s touchscreen used to display the street level mapping.
With the Nintendo gadget’s gyroscopic and accelerometer, physically moving the controller to view a scene means Google Maps users will have more freedom and more immersion than could ever be provided from the restriction of desk computer and mouse. The GamePad will add a new depth to Streetview and should in theory make the experience even more like you’re actually walking around and taking a look anywhere in the world particularly when enjoying those virtual tours such as the Coliseum of Rome and the Royal hotspots of London.
Nintendo’s new Panorama View app combines mapping with 360-degree videos of the world’s most famous landmarks, adding even more functionality to Google Maps – we’re sure one day you won’t even need to leave your sofa for a holiday!
One of the original Wii’s most popular functions is the Wii Fit board, and at the event Ninty also confirmed it would be launching a version for the Wii U. Dubbed Wii Fit U, the new version will not only feature a balance board, but a pedometer called a Fit Meter as well. This little beauty will record your steps and calories and you don’t even need to be in front of the console to do it – take it with you on your walk to work or to the gym and when you come home and fire up the Wii U it will sync up with the Wii Fit U game, which sounds pretty neat.
Both Google Maps and Wii Fit U are said to arrive early in 2013, so stay tuned.