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Wii U, the new Nintendo console, reinvents the controller

The new Nintendo console, the Wii U, boasts HD graphics and will have a tablet built into its controller.

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This is the controller for the Wii U, the new Nintendo console. It lets you play games even when the TV is turned off.

Nintendo

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Nintendo has introduced the world to the Wii's touchy new big brother: the Wii U.

The Japanese gaming giant on Tuesday unveiled the Wii video game console's successor, which will broadcast high-definition video and feature a touchscreen controller that can detect motion and interact with what appears on a television display.

"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 touchscreen controller, reminiscent of Apple Inc.'s iPad and other tablet computers, can broadcast standard-definition video but also features a directional pad, microphone, dual analog sticks, speakers, two pairs of shoulder buttons and a front-facing camera, which can be used to make video calls.

The console itself will use proprietary high-definition optical discs, 1080p HDMI output and internal memory that can be upgraded with USB and SD technology. No other technical specifications were provided.

The prototype controller was demonstrated during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry's annual convention, in several ways: displaying a player's inventory in a "Legend of Zelda" game, offering an alternative way to play a chasing game, being used as a shield from incoming attacks in a first-person shooter game and showing the image of a teed-up golf ball on the ground before it was struck to a putting green depicted on a TV.

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