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Nintendo Unveils Wii-U -- a Next Generation Touchscreen Console

Wii-U

Nintendo joins the tablet craze -- sort of -- with a new touchscreen game console called the Wii U.Reuters

Just five years after introducing the blockbuster console, the Wii is getting a big brother. Presenting -- the Wii U.

The Japanese gaming giant said Tuesday that the successor to the Wii video game console will broadcast high-definition video as well as a new controller that detects motion. Unlike the last generation Wii though, this new controller also sports a touchscreen with the ability to broadcast video.

Nintendo Co. revealed Wii U during the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

"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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.