There’s a Nintendo Wii in one in three UK homes. So the games giant’s anouncement that a new version of the console is on the way is big news. The Wii U, as it’s currently dubbed, will be capable of better graphics and full 1080p HD video, while supporting all the current Wii games and hardware. But the bigger news concerns the new console’s controller. It still has the motion-sensing accelerometers and gyroscopes that made the Wii so popular, but it also incorporates a 6.2in touchscreen.
It’s the addition of the touchscreen that’s brought the biggest step forward in gaming on the new Wii. You can swipe the screen to throw virtual darts at enemies on your TV, or it can simply be used to display your game character’s inventory, allowing you to focus your full attention on the action taking place on your telly. Better yet, if someone else wants to catch up with The X Factor results on the TV, you can keep playing your game on the controller’s display – playing the game like you would on a hand-held console. So some living room squabbles should be resolved.
With other features like a front-facing camera for video calls and a web browser made for the controller’s touchscreen, the Wii U won’t just be for playing games. It seems that Nintendo’s goal is to create one all-conquering device that will sit at the centre of our homes, replacing DVD players, set-top boxes and tablet computers. The Wii U is likely to be launched in 2012 but you can find out more about it on p102.