Nintendo Lifts Lid on Wii U for 2012

Nintendo announced a new videogame console called the Wii U that plays high-definition graphics and features a 6.2-inch touchscreen on its controller, improving on its hit Wii.

The move on Tuesday pressures rivals like Microsoft Corp and Sony Corp to come up with new game systems, and could jumpstart a $65 billion global industry that surpasses Hollywood in size.

The new device will launch between April and December 2012, the company told reporters in Los Angeles without saying how much it would cost.

Nintendo, once a leader in hardware sales, retains a leading market share. The company, however, is struggling to win users from Microsoft and Sony after the disappointing introduction of its 3DS handheld device. For a graphic on the state of the industry, click

The new console is the first Nintendo device to support HD graphics. Its controller features a 6.2-inch touch-screen that works like a second display, showing the same images being played on a TV screen. The smaller screen can provide gamers with additional information, giving them an edge over competitors.

The Wii U's controller can also be used to make voice calls and run old Nintendo games. It has motion-sensor capabilities and works in conjunction with existing Wii controllers, the company said.

The device could appeal to hardcore gamers who could use it for first-person shooter games, an area where Nintendo has lost ground to rivals.

Wii U is the first new home console in five years.

Sony began selling its PlayStation 3 home console in November 2006 while Microsoft's Xbox 360 console became available in November 2005. Both consoles have sold steadily, and neither hardware maker has revealed immediate plans for new systems.