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Nintendo revealed the Nintendo Wii U, the successor to the Nintendo Wii, today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Calif.
The first Wii was a huge success for Nintendo and started the motion gaming craze, leading Sony and Microsoft to also release motion controllers for their home gaming consoles. The Wii sold more than 86 million units total and was a smash hit with casual gamers. It has one of the widest install bases in the world and for a long time was the console to beat after it was released, with retail outlets selling the consoles literally minutes after they hit the shelves.
The new console will come out sometime next year, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said. Nintendo wants to include “something for everyone” in the new console. That’s probably an attempt to silence critics of the original Wii, which some said did not have enough content for hardcore gamers that were looking for good games from Nintendo’s main franchises.
“The new platform will create a deeper experience for even the most passionate gamers and a wider experience,” he said.
The Wii is credited with bringing home console gaming to more mainstream audiences, particularly casual gamers that wouldn’t typically go for a home gaming console like the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3. It included games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit, which were non-traditional titles that sold incredibly well thanks to the immersion of motion controllers and the Wii Balance Board.
The device features a controller with a touch screen, camera and microphone. It looks like the bottom half of the Nintendo 3DS and Sony’s PlayStation Portable, with the screen in the center that changes with the game. The controller can display and run games when they aren’t available on the TV.
The controller has a 6.2 inch screen and the console is backwards compatible with all Wii devices and Wii games. But the device is not designed to be a portable device, Iwata said. The images on the WiiU screen are transmitted wirelessly from the console. Nintendo also showed off an early tech demo for the Wii U, and it looks like it has about as much graphics firepower as the Xbox 360 — though it’s maybe just a tiny bit weaker.
Nintendo will be releasing a Smash Bros. game, one of Nintendo’s best-selling crossover fighting games, for the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS as well. The games will work together in some way, Iwata said. Nintendo is also working closely with Electronic Arts to bring games like Madden and Battlefield 3 to the Wii U.
Tekken, Batman Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed and Darksiders 2 should all be launch titles for the Wii U, according to Nintendo’s presentation. Along with other first-party titles, it looks like Nintendo is trying to make sure it gets hardcore gamers back with the Wii U. You can find a video of a tech demo for the system below.
Be sure to check out VentureBeat for wall-to-wall coverage of E3 this week.
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