Nintendo lit up the E3 video game expo this week when it unveiled Wii U, its hotly anticipated new gaming console. A successor to the massively popular Wii, the Wii U — the "U" stands for "unique" — is a high-definition gaming system controlled by a touchscreen tablet that can, variously, display additional game information, thus freeing up the TV screen for full-screen, hi-def graphics; or serve as a gaming-only screen that lets you continue playing the game while "your wife watches television." The controller technology also "borrows heavily" from the iPad, and allows video chat, web browsing, and wireless gameplay. Is the Wii U, which comes out in 2012, the next, best gaming innovation?

Yes, it's the future of gaming: The Wii U could "radically change the way people play games in their living rooms," says Chris Kohler at Wired. Unlike Nintendo's confusing controller designs to date, the Wii U controller — with its simplicity, impressive size, and high quality — "runs away with the cake." Nintendo found mega-success with the revolutionary Wii in 2006, and the new system is a "totally new way" for the company to differentiate itself from Sony and Microsoft.
"Hands-on: With Wii U's touchscreen controller, Nintendo could radically change games"

Its flexibility is impressive: The 6.2-inch controller screen is the "perfect" size, says Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica, and the "amazing" ability to play on it while someone watches television will do wonders to help relationships. Nintendo has done it again.
"Hands-on with the Wii U: It's here, and it's amazing"

Actually, this complicated system may be a "hard sell": While I find Nintendo's original Wii "simple" and "accessible," says Nate Ralph at PCWorld, Wii U is "so bizarre it defies definition." The "mishmash of gaming peripherals" — the touchscreen, cameras, augmented reality, sketching stylus, toggling, and dual analog sticks — could easily be too "tricky to comprehend — for consumers and developers alike."
"Nintendo's 'bizarre' Wii U will be a hard sell to gamers"