Nintendo unveiled the successor to its Wii at E3, leaving many onlookers baffled. Called the Wii U, the company’s next-generation console aims to bridge the gap between casual and hardcore gamers — the latter of which were which were abandoned by the Wii. Nintendo wants the Wii U to offer something for everyone, claiming it “will create a deeper experience for even the most passionate gamers.”

The most puzzling thing about the Wii U — apart from its name — is undoubtedly Nintendo’s new controller concept. At first glance, it appears to be an entirely separate device, featuring a built-in 6.2-inch touchscreen, speaker, microphone and camera alongside the traditional buttons, directional controls (two analog sticks and a D-pad), as well as sensors including a gyroscope and an accelerometer.

“Up until now, home console games had to occupy the TV screen in order to be played,” said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. “The new controller for Wii U, with its 6.2-inch screen built in, means you won’t need to give up your gameplay when someone else comes in the room and wants to watch a TV program.”

The white 6.2-inch touchscreen controller features a directional pad, microphone, dual analog sticks, two speakers, pairs of shoulder buttons and a front-facing camera.

The console itself will use proprietary high-definition optical discs, 1080p HDMI output and internal memory that can be upgraded with USB technology. Nintendo says Wii U will be compatible with Wii games and controllers and the system will be released between April and December next year.

The price of the new system was not announced.

The company has been looking to recharge growth after an extended sales slump, as the initial rush for the original Wii has died down while their new 3D handheld, the 3DS was viewed as an overall disappointment.

Nintendo showed only early game concepts that could get the most out of the new touchscreen controller.

“This is going to be able to create what I call a new format or new structure of entertainment,” Mr. Iwata told the Wall Street Journal in an interview prior to the E3 presentation. “By taking advantage of this new structure of entertainment, great new ideas can be popped up by developers.”

Order Nintendo Wii U

Fortunately, the Wii U is backward compatible with Wii games and accessories. It can also handle 1080p video, is powered by an IBM CPU, has internal flash storage along with support for SD cards and USB drives, plays proprietary discs and digital downloads, and is due between next April and December. Launch titles include Batman, Tekken, Assassin’s Creed, Metro and other popular franchises.


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