Nintendo announces next console, the Wii U

Nintendo announces next console, the Wii U

The Wii U will be Nintendo's next console, the video game maker announced Tuesday morning at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

However, little was shown of the device, slated for release next year, except for its innovative new controller -- a tablet with a vibrant, 6.2-inch color touch-screen in the center; a variety of control options, including two analog sticks, on the front and back; a microphone; speaker; and camera; as well as the equipment needed for motion-sensitivity.

This controller can be used in place of -- or in addition to -- a TV screen, depending on players' needs. For instance, during the demonstration it was seen used as a scope to zoom in on the TV image and as a standalone Othello board.

The screen is also apparently accurate enough to be used as a drawing tablet, and will be able to be used for hosting video chats over the Internet.

It's unknown how powerful the Wii U console itself will be or what it will look like, but according to Nintendo, it will be at least on par with the Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. It's announced line-up features many of the same games as those two devices, such as "Darksiders 2" and "Batman: Arkham City."

The Wii U will also be backward-compatible with all Wii games and peripherals, such as Wii wand controllers and the Wii Balance Board.

No price has been announced for the new system.

For the rest of its press conference, Nintendo was focused on the recently released Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system.

It confirmed that five key titles are planned for release on the system, four of them later this year, including "Mario Kart," "StarFox64 3D," "Super Mario," "Kid Icarus Uprising." The fifth, "Luigi's Mansion 2," is still undated for release.

Nintendo also announced that a system update is now available for the 3DS that enables its eShop and web browser features.
 

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