Nintendo E3 Keynote: Meet the Wii U

Nintendo just announced its next-generation console, the touchscreen tablet-driven Wii U, at E3 this morning. Check out this photographic recap of Nintendo's new console.

Meet the Wii U

The rumors are true: Nintendo debuted its next-generation console, the touchscreen tablet Wii U, during its keynote address at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles this morning. Read on for a visual tour of Nintendo's new console.

Introducing the Console

This is what the console itself looks like--it's about 1.8 inches tall, supports 1080p Full HD video over HDMI and Component (or SD via composite/S-video), has internal flash memory as well as USB ports and an SD card slot for external storage, and is backwards-compatible with Nintendo Wii games and peripherals. Currently, the Wii U is planned to launch in 2012.

The Wii U Controller: World's First Gaming Tablet?

Undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of the Wii U is the new controller, which features a 6.2-inch 16:9 touchscreen in the center. As you can see, a standard video game controller layout (complete with four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, two triggers, a directional pad and two analog sticks) lie along the edge of the tablet. Here, the controller is pictured with a stylus, but the touchscreen will also respond to touch inputs from your hands.

Wii U With Stylus

Nintendo's demo reel included a drawing sequence with the stylus. Clearly, this touchscreen is more sensitive and detail-friendly than the Nintendo DS touchscreen--you can't really draw a picture like this in the Nintendo DS's PictoChat app.

Picture In Picture

The Wii U tablet screen can be used to navigate and magnify the image displayed on your TV, which could come in handy for browsing the Web. Nintendo also showed off the ability to play your Wii U game directly from your tablet--handy in case someone else needs to use the TV.

Rear Triggers

The Wii U tablet controller also has two shoulder buttons and two trigger buttons, bringing its controller closer to the shooter-friendly Xbox 360 and PS3 gamepads.

New Super Mario Brothers Mii

While Nintendo was pretty coy about their upcoming game plans for the Wii U, they did show off a game they were calling New Super Mario Brothers Mii, which let your Mii avatars join in the run-n-jump fun alongside Mario and Luigi.

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