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YouTube coming to the Wii

Aurielle Rounsaville, a Nintendo Co. representative, displays a WiiU video-game handheld console for a photograph at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. A YouTube app will be available on the Wii and is also one of the launch-day apps available for the new console, the Wii U. (Jonathan Alcorn/BLOOMBERG)

YouTube is releasing an app for the Wii, the company announced Thursday, extending the portfolio of video services available on Nintendo’s console.

According to a news release from the Google-owned service, YouTube’s app will first be available in the United States and will be a free download for all Wii owners. The app is built to work with the Wii remote.

With the addition of this app, YouTube is now available on all of the major consoles — the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii — and is now available to 400 million devices worldwide. The partnership also helps to fill out the video services available on the Wii, which currently showcases Netflix and Hulu.

YouTube will also have an app in the Wii U when the console launches on Sunday, as will Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.

Nintendo is hoping that a new console can excite gamers who may no longer be using the Wii, which the company launched in 2006.

The Wii U has an interesting design, with a tablet controller that functions as an extra screen while users play games. Developers have used this tablet controller as a map or inventory screen, but the new configuration also opens up the possibility for what Nintendo calls asymmetrical play.

That means that one player in a game has different tasks than his fellow players. For example, in New Super Mario Bros. U, the player holding the tablet gets limited control over the game’s setting and can create blocks to help or hinder other players.

The Wii U will cost $299.99 for a white console with 8 GB of storage, one touch-screen controller, a sensor bar and an HDMI cable. The Deluxe set will cost $349.99 and adds in the Nintendo Land game, stands for the console and GamePad and ups the storage in the console to 32GB.

The console also works with existing Wii remote controllers.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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