Nintendo's new controller sparks intense intrigue

Posted by Mark Raby

As promised, Nintendo used its pre-E3 press briefing to unveil the widely hyped Wii successor.

But instead of dazzling us with high-res shots of a brand new console, it focused on the new system's controller.

Officially called Wii U, it doesn't really matter what the new home console actually looks like. The star is the revolutionary new controller that stunned even the most jaded gamers in the audience today.

The controller is itself practically a video game system. With a 6.2-inch touchscreen and Wii-like buttons, it kind of looks like the lovechild of a Wii and an iPad.

But Nintendo stressed the controller is not designed to actually work as its own system, because all it does is receive a wireless signal from the actual Wii U console. Thus, it can only be used in the same home as the Wii U itself.

And while its primary function is to serve as the controller for your Wii U when you're playing on the TV, there are also infinite other possibilities - take the game with you when your roommate wants to take over the TV, or you want to go to the kitchen to make a snack.

Or, simply leave your Wii U turned on and use the controller as its own system, even though it does have the short-range wireless restriction.

A few confirmed titles for the Wii U, which is due out in 2012, include Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online, Super Mario Bros Mii (working title), and a new Super Smash Bros installment.

As far as technical details of the system, almost none were announced, though it was briefly mentioned in passing that it will support HD video output, something the Wii was sorely lacking.

Pricing details were also not confirmed, but one thing is clear - this will be the hot ticket next year.