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Nintendo Wii 2 to be playable this June at E3 and out in 2012

Amid reports of falling profits and flagging sales of its flagship home console, Nintendo is about to unveil a replacement for the Wii.

A replacement for the Wii will be unveiled in a playable form at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles this coming June. Don't get too excited, though. Nintendo has said the console -- we're calling it Wii 2 until the official name appears -- won't go on sale until sometime in 2012.

The news comes amid reports of falling profits and flagging sales of the flagship home console, which was launched to much sniggering in 2006.

So far, almost nothing is known about the Wii 2, but that hasn't stopped the gaming community from speculating. Some have, somewhat lazily, predicted the console will be a redesigned Wii with the ability to output high-definition graphics. We doubt this is the case, however. Nintendo has a proud history of hardware innovation and it's unlikely the company will settle for a simple boost in graphical power.

Instead, Nintendo will likely seek innovative new ways to engage gamers. Indeed, the company's chief executive, Satoru Iwata, has told Bloomberg the console "will offer a new way of playing games within the home".

One area of gaming that certainly won't feature highly is 3D. Iwata has quite rightly said, "It's difficult to make 3D images a key feature, because 3D televisions haven't obtained wide acceptance yet."

Here at Crave, we're expecting big things. Nintendo has racked up a fortune in Wii sales since its introduction in 2006. More than 86 million Wiis have been sold and although the company's profits have slumped by 66 per cent to $946m in the last year, it has the financial wherewithal and the necessary invention to create a console that can appeal to hardcore and casual gamers alike.

Roll on June.

Image credit: Kotaku