Los Angeles June 04, 2012
Nintendo provided a glimpse into its second-generation Wii console as the Japanese videogame giant set out to generate excitement ahead of the annual E3 industry extravaganza.
In a webcast streamed online, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed details about the Wii U GamePad and promised to reveal more during a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday prior to the opening of the E3 show floor.
The console's name was a reference to a 6.2-inch (16-centimetre) screen that displays maps or other information to complement game play, acts as a touchscreen game board and serves as a second monitor.
The table has near-field-communication (NFC) technology and can serve as a television remote control, according to the demonstration.
And the built-in screen can serve as a "social window" to exchange messages between people using Wii U tablets, to play with or against one another online in the belief that "together is better," according to Iwata.
Nintendo will tout its coming Wii U GamePad console as well as videogames tailored for play on the beefed up console which it hopes will reignite passion sparked by its groundbreaking Wii devices released in 2006.
Microsoft has said that it will not unveil a successor to the Xbox 360 console and Japan-based Sony said it will remain mum about a next-generation PlayStation 3.
The casual gaming audience has been lured to inexpensive or free games that can be played on smartphones or tablets using swipes on touchscreens and by games enjoyed online at venues such as zynga.com or the social network Facebook.
"The snack food type games thrive at the expense of casual games," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said, referring to social and mobile titles.
"They have hurt the Wii and Nintendo's handheld DS badly and taken away the casual gamer."
The absence of new Xbox or PlayStation consoles was cited as among the reasons that videogame publishers are betting on established franchises.