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Last updated: June 8, 2011 12:51 am
Nintendo has unveiled the Wii U, a home console featuring high-definition graphics and a controller with a large touchscreen for extended game play.
The controller allows games to be switched from a television to play solely on its 6.2in screen, so that normal television viewing may take place, and it can stream videos on its screen back on to the TV.
“This [controller] is unusual and unique,” Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president, told the Financial Times.
“Of course, people were looking for better graphics, but we felt we really had to offer something that can fundamentally change the structure of entertainment.”
The Wii U was unveiled at a news conference at the E3 video game trade show.
A number of the controller’s tricks were unveiled. For example, placing it on the floor during a golf game turned its screen into a golf ball on a tee. Swinging with a motion controller played the ball on to a course on the TV screen.
The device includes a camera and microphone for video conferencing and motion-sensing chips, as well as standard game controller buttons and joysticks.
Nintendo sees the touchscreen as helping it reach new gamers with its intuitive controls, just as the Wii expanded the demographic for gaming with its motion-sensing controller.
Mr Iwata told the news conference it would offer deeper experiences and wider appeal to gamers and would let everybody see games in a different way.
“The goal of innovation is to serve every player,” he said. “I believe our new platform represents a major step in achieving our goal.”
The product will not be available until 2012 at a price to be announced, leaving Nintendo with the problem of maintaining sales of the fading Wii in the meantime.
Mr Iwata said the console would have a strong holiday line-up of games, and stressed the strength of new games announced at E3 for the 3DS 3D handheld console, which has not sold as well as expected. “The 3DS is going to have a strong software line-up at last, from the latter half of this year,” he said.
It will compete with a handheld console from Sony due before the end of the year.
Sony revealed at E3 on Monday that it would be called the PS Vita and would go on sale at $250 in the US (the same price as the 3DS), €250 ($367) in Europe and Y25,000 ($311) in Japan.
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