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Nintendo to launch Wii U in November

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 3:31pm
The Associated Press

Nintendo Wii UNintendo's upcoming Wii U gaming console will start at $300 and go on sale in the U.S. on Nov. 18, in time for the holidays, the company said Thursday.

The company also announced new entertainment features for the console. Called "Nintendo TVii," the service collects all the ways users have to watch movies, TV shows and sports. This includes pay-TV accounts, along with services such as Hulu and Netflix. The GamePad works as a fancy remote controller and will let viewers browse shows they can watch.

TVii "brings all of your services to one place," said Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America.

So if you like the TV show "Modern Family," for example, it will pull in the show's episodes from every available source.

The service also captures scenes from live TV and displays them on the controller. Viewers can then comment on the scenes and share that on Twitter or Facebook if they want. With this feature, Nintendo is playing into what many people already do while they watch TV – comment and share things with friends using a second screen such as a smartphone.

A "deluxe" version will sell for $350. It will be black instead of white and include extra features such as more memory, a charging stand and the game "Nintendo Land."

Nintendo Co. has been trying to drum up excitement for the Wii U, which is the first major gaming console to launch since 2006. The device has a touchscreen controller called the Wii U GamePad. It also plays games made for the original Wii.

Nintendo said the latest game in its wildly popular Mario franchise, "New Super Mario Bros. U," will be available when the new console launches. It will include new ways to play that use the GamePad. It will also offer new challenges for advanced Mario players, such as trying to complete a level without touching the ground. "Mario" and other classic games have long been Nintendo's main draw.

TVii will be available Nov. 18, as well, at no extra cost.

Among the games available on the Wii U will be Activision Blizzard's "Call of Duty Black Ops II." The "Call of Duty" games have been holiday bestsellers for the past several years.

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