Nintendo unveils the Wii U (live blog)

The successor to the Wii features a tablet-like controller. Nintendo says its goal is to create a platform that's satisfying for all players.

Nintendo introduces the Wii U to the audience at the E3 conference today. Sarah Tew/CNET

Editor's note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component below. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers and several CNET reporters. For those of you who just want the basic updates, we've included them in regular text on this page. For the key points from today's announcement, check out our summary post here .

We know Nintendo is going to announce the next-generation Wii. But what will it be called? What will it look like, and what will you be able to do with it?

These are the burning questions Nintendo will very likely answer at its E3 press event . Plus they'll be talking about bringing eShop to the 3DS and all that entails.

Join us bright and early at 9 a.m. PT Tuesday for up-to-the-minute coverage live from the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

Transcript of the live blog starts here:

9:05 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : OK, here we go. Lights dimming.

9:05 a.m. (Dan Ackerman) : Wow, live orchestra playing. That's a new one.

9:06 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : And a chorus!

Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

9:06 a.m. (Dan Ackerman) : Playing Zelda music. Classy.

9:09 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : And here comes Zelda's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto.

9:09-9:10 a.m. (Scott Stein) : 25th anniversary of Zelda. Didn't realize. Miyamoto heading onstage. Feels like the Academy Awards with the music and Miyamoto's suit.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Shigeru Miyamoto, Zelda's ceator Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

9:11 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Through a translator he says, it's the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda. He's talking about how much the music has changed. He says hearing the music performed here by the orchestra is "exhilarating."

Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn

9:12-9:14 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : More music from the orchestra coming up, with sounds from the game. Miyamoto thanks everyone for remembering the 8-bit Zelda tunes. For the 25th anniversary, Zelda on every hardware system. Today, Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening will be on Game Boy color virtual console lineup.

9:15-9:16 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Next weekend, the Legend of Zelda 3D will launch for 3DS worldwide. Frame rate, graphics revamped for 3DS, he says. In September, on DSi, Legend of Zelda 4 Swords is a free download. Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword out for Wii this holiday season worldwide. "It's finally done," he says. They're making a special gold Wii remote as a promotion for the game.

Bill Trinen (left) translates for Miyamoto Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

9:19 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : He references the orchestra again, saying there will be 25th anniversary concerts of Zelda music around the world. In each region, he says. Japan, U.S. and Europe dates will come later. There will also be two CDs: official Ocarina of Time soundtrack. Will be a gift for first to register with Club Nintendo. The other will be based on the concerts and released in conjunction with Skyward Sword.

A few people who have worked on the Zelda series Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

9:20-9:21 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : 200 people have worked on this series, he says. He asks them to join him on stage. Not all 200. Just three of them, I should clarify. That appears to end the Zelda portion of our program. Next up, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn

9:22 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Today there have been lots of changes in who plays games, and most importantly how we play video games. Boundaries between age and gender of players are disappearing, Iwata says.

9:23 a.m. (Jeff Bakalar) : "What we haven't achieved yet is a platform equally satisfying for all players."

9:23-9:24 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : People say the Wii attracts more casual gamers. The industry still hasn't achieved a game platform equally satisfying for all players. But this is what we intend to create with our new platform, he says. The new platform will have "deeper game experiences" and "wider" appeal. People will see games in a new way, he says. Details later he says, to groans from the audience. This new platform is for next year.

9:25 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : But there will be this year new games for the 3DS.

9:25-9:26 a.m. (Jeff Bakalar) : New 3D franchises--- Starting with Mario Kart. Starfox. And of course Mario Bros. Kid Icarus. And Luigi's Mansion

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:27-9:28 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : And now, President of Nintendo America Reggie Fils-Aime. "We hear you," he says. You want what you've always wanted, but you want something new, he declares. Is it possible to make something for everyone, he asks? New home console and 3DS will be able to do that. Mario Kart now in 3D, he says, queuing up a demo.

President of Nintendo America Reggie Fils-Aime Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

9:30-9:34 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : That's coming this holiday season, he says. Now Starfox in 3D. You can use buttons or turning and tilting to control the game. That's coming this September. Mario has sold more game systems than any other character, Fils-Aime says. He'll be on the 3DS too "before the year is over."

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:36 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Now more details on Kid Icarus Uprising. Coming to stores "later this year."

Kid Icarus Uprising Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:36 a.m. (Scott Stein) : Augmented reality cards will be used with Kid Icarus. How will that work?

9:37-9:40 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Next up, Luigi's Mansion 2 demo. It's "not a simple revision," he says. It has several new mansions for 3DS. The library of games coming to the 3DS is "unprecedented," he claims.

Luigi's Mansion 2 demo Sarah Tew/CNET

9:40a.m. (Scott Stein) : I want to hear more about eShop games. Virtual Console...finally. Finally.

9:41 a.m. (Jeff Bakalar) : Game Boy and Game Boy Color to start.

9:42 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Biggest download news for 3DS is Pokemon. A system update will let you find your free Pokedex.

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:45-9:46 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Wii made sense as a name once you started hearing it as "We," he says. The new console is called...Wii U. As in "You." Very light applause. I heard an "oh no," behind me. The name is "utopian," Fils-Aime says. The controller gets some oohs and aahs.

9:46 a.m. (Scott Stein) : Oh...the controller is indeed a tablet. It's like a giant bottom half of a DSi XL with an analog stick.

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:46 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : It'll change the way you interact with family and friends, he says. (Do I want that?)

9:47 a.m. (Dan Ackerman) : Ah, the games can stream to the screen on the controller. That's pretty sweet.

9:47 a.m. (Scott Stein) : The controller will allow gaming while something else is on TV.

9:47a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Comes with a stylus.

9:47 a.m. (Scott Stein) : Showing tabletop games. Like the iPad.

9:47 a.m. (Dan Ackerman) : A mash-up of the old Dreamcast VMU and the Wii uDraw tablet.

9:48 a.m. (Scott Stein) : Crazy augmented reality: new screen aims at TV screen and both interact. Whoa. WII Fit interactivity. So, there's that.

9:48 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Can also be a TV replacement.

9:48 a.m. (Dan Ackerman) : Looks like it works with a lot of existing Wii gear.

9:48 a.m. (Scott Stein) : Crazy sniper rifle attachment. Aiming at screen, zooming at targets.

9:49 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Allows video calls.

9:49 a.m. (Scott Stein) : So, will this tablet be backwards compatible with the Wii? Almost looks like this is the device.

9:49 a.m. (Jeff Bakalar) : Wii U controller working as an inventory system for Zelda game-- cool.

9:49 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Coming 2012.

Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

9:50-9:51 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Iwata is back. The video probably raised some questions, he says. So he's going to explain. The new controller has a 6.2-inch screen and you won't have to give up your game play when someone wants to use the TV. All Wii games, controllers, accessories work with it. It's designed to appeal to all people, "particularly the most dedicated and experienced players."

9:51 a.m. (Dan Ackerman) : Looks like there *is* a separate console.

9:52 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : It enables rumble feature, touch screen, mic, speakers, accelerometer, gyroscope, front-facing camera. Not designed as a portable game machine despite its characteristics.

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:53 a.m. (Scott Stein) : This is parallel evolution in gaming at its finest. Vita and Wii U both have dual analog, crosspad, touch screens.

9:53-9:54 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : You can play with an HDTV with the controller without looking at it, or play with it without a TV. Or, you can use both screens simultaneously, like with Wii Baseball and Golf. We decided on this because we wanted a "strong bond between games, your TV, and the Internet." You can browse the Web on it too.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:55-9:57 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Miyamoto is back, on video, to talk about it. Game designers can do whatever they want with it, he says. He says he's looking forward "to new styles of play, ones we haven't even thought of yet." Smash Brothers for 3DS and Wii U. Won't go into details about it, he says.

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:58-9:59 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Now Fils-Aime is back. Demos of "interactive experiences," not "games" for Wii U up now.

Sarah Tew/CNET

10:00 a.m. (Scott Stein) : showed video of graphic capabilities of the Wii U.

10:01 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : The U controller lets you take the game "off the TV" and move it "all around you." We're about to see a demo of how this works.

Sarah Tew/CNET

10:01-10:02 a.m. (Scott Stein) : The tablet will have augmented reality functions. Tilt and turn to avoid virtual arrows coming at you on all sides... Looks like that second screen will act as an additional viewpoint for some games.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

10:03 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Lego City Stories will come exclusively to Wii U and 3DS. Video of developers talking about Wii U.

10:04 a.m. (Scott Stein) : This controller could enable two-screen multiplayer without split screen or requiring a second TV. That could be fascinating.

10:03 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Dark Siders II on Wii U at launch, and Batman Dark City, Assassin's Creed.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

10:05 a.m. (Scott Stein) : Lots of big third-party franchises heading to the Wii U.

10:08-10:09 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Everything this week is "just the first pass," Fils-Aime stresses. Wii U will "satisfy all tastes," Iwata says.

CEO of EA John Riccitiello Sarah Tew/CNET

10:09-10:11 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : CEO of EA John Riccitiello is coming up. He's never been on stage with Nintendo at E3 before, he says. But there's been "a breakthrough" in their relationship. That's because of Wii U. He's looking forward to using the "innovative" experience of the console for shooters and sports games. Games aren't things you buy anymore, they're "places you go." And that's it for Riccitiello.

Sarah Tew/CNET

10:11 a.m. (Scott Stein) : EA presence suggests big third-party support for this.

10:12 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Fils-Aime wants you to consider 4 platforms: Wii, DS, 3DS, and Wii U.

Sarah Tew/CNET

10:15 a.m. (Jeff Bakalar) : Not even a hint of when Wii U will be available.

10:17 a.m. (Erica Ogg) : Thanks for joining us everyone! Check back throughout the day for more news and analysis from the CNET team.

Note: If you plan to watch the live blog from an iOS device or any other mobile browser, make sure you have JavaScript enabled. On iOS you can find that toggle in Settings > Safari. On Android, the setting can be toggled within the native browser's settings menu.

Editors' note: The original, barebones version of this story was posted June 6 at 2:00 p.m. PT.

 

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