Nintendo revealed more details about its new Wii U game console on Thursday, saying the device will begin selling in the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 18 at a price of $299 US for the basic model and $349 for a deluxe version.
Technology writer Pete Nowak liveblogged for the CBC from the launch event in New York City, and you can read his posts in the Scribble Live box embedded in this article.
Wii users were already familiar with some of the features of the new console, which was first unveiled last year at the E3 2011 games expo, but Nintendo revealed more details about the console's technical specifications at Thursday's event and outlined some of the game titles that will be available for it.
Gamers can expect Lego City: Undercover, a new Super Mario Bros and Metroid Blast, in which one player uses a standard Wii controller to shoot targets on the ground while a second player floats above in a ship and controls the game with the Wii U GamePad.
More than 50 games for Wii U will be released between November and March. Among them will be Activision's Call of Duty Black Ops 2.
The video game giant has hosted several demonstrations of the Wii U in the past few months, and most of the buzz so far has had to do with the console's tablet-like controller, called GamePad.
The GamePad is a new take on the traditional controller that Nintendo says is easier to use. It has a 6.2-inch touch screen, a gyroscope tilt sensor, a front-facing camera that enables video calls and a microphone.
One of the most-praised features of the GamePad is that it allows users to play some games on the tablet itself without having to be linked to a television. Video entertainment services such as Netflix and YouTube can also be streamed directly to the controller.
Nintendo said Thursday that a charging cradle for the GamePad will be included with the deluxe version of the Wii U.
The deluxe model will also come with Nintendo Land, a collection of mini-games designed to show off the features of the controller, and people who buy the deluxe WIi U will get digital points for every download they make, which can be put toward purchases.
Nintendo also revealed details of TVii, its "social entertainment" service. This aspect of the Wii U allows people to personalize their TV viewing and use of streaming services such as Netflix and share the viewing experience with friends.
It will be available only in the U.S. and in Canada.
With TVii, viewers can recommend programs to friends and comment on shows via Twitter and other services using their GamePad, which can also link up with a DVR.
Another TVii feature on the GamePad is the ability to display information such as player statistics and live scores for televised sporting events.
Wii U is the first entry in the next generation of hardware wars with rivals Sony and Microsoft. Between them, the three companies are duking it out for a global video game market that is expected to hit $81 billion US by 2016.