What you're looking at above is a leaked image of a re-designed controller for Nintendo's next home console, the Wii U. Set to come out later this year, we got a taste of the console at last year's E3, being introduced to one of the most unique controllers the console gaming world has ever seen.
Nintendo talked a lot about how the Wii U would be in its final form at this year's E3, and they weren't kidding - apparently listening to some vocal gamers, Nintendo has tweaked their new console's tablet/controller, but only slightly.
If you forgot what the original design we saw at E3 2011 looked like, here it is:
Has a lot changed? Well, no. The biggest change really is the replacement of the original analog sliders (akin to what the 3DS has) with actual analog sticks instead, making this controller the first Nintendo console ever to have true dual analog control (that's really ridiculous to say, if you think about it). The + and - buttons, which were first brought to us by the Wii's controller, have been positioned closer to the four buttons on the right side of the controller. Also, the bottom of the controller has been switched up a bit - an unmarked button has been placed next to the power button, and the microphone has been moved over just a bit.
So yeah, not much has changed.
However, the changes made a good - the Wii U controller absolutely needed to get rid of its analog sliders in favor of analog sticks. The sliders were very inaccurate and had a lot of friction, they just weren't suitable for a console. They actually made playing Ghost Recon at E3 last year not fun at all. The dual analog sticks are a very good option, and I'm glad Nintendo decided to change the controller for them.
Also, having the + and - buttons actually in a position where they can be used without moving your hands too much is a plus, but they are still a bit of a travel for your thumb. Though, considering they aren't the most used buttons, that should be fine.
Everything else seems pretty much the same, which still worries me. The controller is still pretty big and that's because of the touch screen. I can understand this, but this will make gaming just...odd for many people. Gamers will now have to take a lot of extra care toward these contraptions, wherein a lot of controllers for many consoles are thrown about because they can take the heat. I don't think this one can.
Also, the four button (A B X Y) position is still wonky compared to the analog sticks. Because thumbs will be primarily on at least one analog stick, and because the sticks are the most northern parts of the controller, you'll have to constantly move your thumb down to hit one of these buttons, and even further if you want to utilize the + and - buttons. Honestly, the sticks should be closer to the middle of the controller and become a focal point, that way nothing is completely too distanced from any position the thumbs may primarily be in.
Now, I won't be able to get my hands on the controller this year unfortunately, but unless Nintendo has changed more things up from the last design in ways that we haven't seen, then they absolutely need to make this controller a bit more ergonomically built. It's comfortable to hold, but it still feels awkward. It doesn't have a huge case of being obtrusive, but it will take a bit of getting used to for most gamers.
Still, the controller is looking good. Hopefully Nintendo releases a standard dual-analog controller without a tablet design and touch screen for the console so that way we can enjoy our favorite Nintendo games in high definition without an otherwise pretty clunky iPad-counterpart that seems more at home at a Starbucks than in your living room.
Seriously Nintendo, just make a Wii U controller that's essentially a Gamecube controller with dual analog control and I'll give you all my money. Please.