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Nintendo announced that its new Wii U game console will be available in the U.S. on Nov. 18, coming in two flavors. The white "Basic" bundle is $300 and comes with a GamePad and Wii U with 8 GB of memory. But it makes more sense to pick up the $350 black "Deluxe" bundle, which includes a 32 GB Wii U system, charger, stand and Nintendo Land. Nintendo Land is a pack of 12 mini games which use the GamePad and allow 5 people to play at once.
The Wii U systems also will have a new entertainment hub called Nintendo TVii. It takes all the video available from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, and also taps into what's available on live TV from your cable provider. All that data is funneled into one menu that you can browse through on the GamePad screen. Search for a show, network or genera, and it'll show you all the options without having to hop between different apps and menus for each service. It also lets you set recordings on a TiVo DVR. Nintendo TVii also has a social feature where you can comment about what you're watching and see what you're friends are saying in real time. (Also, check out this analysis by Matthew Moskovciak: The Wii U is trying to succeed where Google TV failed.)
Neither of these systems will come with Wii Remotes or Nunchuks. But if you already own a Wii, your existing controllers will work just fine.
There will be 50 games available between November and March, but my colleague Jeff Bakalar dug through Nintendo's site and found that 20 titles are listed as coming out on launch day. One that will be available at launch is Madden 13, and players can use the GamePad screen to draw their own plays. (Microsoft wanted to do this with Xbox SmartGlass, but that is not available yet.)
One thing I found interesting about Madden 13 was how the GamePad mirrored the same footage as the television screen. Could players simply turn off the TV or change the channel and only play by looking at the GamePad? I'm told you do still need the TV at certain parts, but for most of the time you don't need the TV screen at all. EA Sports representatives said that they are working on ways to play solely off the GamePad in the next generation.
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