E3 2011: Nintendo Wii 2 is called the Wii U, with ‘innovative’ tablet controller

On Tuesday, Nintendo unveiled the next-generation Wii, which Nintendo is calling the Wii U.

The biggest innovation from the new system is the controller, a tablet-like device that integrates the functions of a tablet, DS, Wiimote and handheld. It has a 6.2-inch touchscreen, a microphone, a front-facing camera, stylus for sketching and an accelerometer. The console also has much-better graphics than the Wii.

Players get a more immersive game experience. You can use the controller as a pull-out menu with a game, either by giving you a different view of the game or, say, the aiming screen for a shooter. You can even pull games from the TV onto the controller to watch a show and keep playing at the same time. It can be used with or without Wiimotes.

You can also use the controller to play a stand-alone game without the TV and like a tablet to surf the Internet and display videos on your television.

Games for the Wii U include a new Lego series games, a new Tekken title, Batman:Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed, Darksider 2, a Ninja Gaiden title and Smash Brothers, which will also be on the 3DS. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata promised the two versions will be integrated.

These titles position Nintendo to take on the more hard-core gaming market, especially with some grittier titles at launch.

A 6.2-inch screen could be a little difficult to swing around for motion gaming, but there’s no doubt that it offers some interesting ideas for innovation.

Related stories:

E3 2011: Where to watch if you aren’t there

E3 2011: Microsoft shows off Kinect Star Wars

E3 2011: Halo 4, voice control and the cloud

PHOTOS: Game One at E3

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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