The six big questions Nintendo has to answer about the Wii U and its new controller

Nintendo may have finally announced the Wii U and unveiled its flashy new tablet controller, but the company still has more than a few questions left to answer.
Written by Ricardo Bilton, Contributor

Embedded touch screen? Support for streaming games? It seems that the rumor mill was completely spot on with Nintendo's newest console, the Wii U. But despite the company's lengthy presentation on the device and its fancy new controller, Nintendo still left more than a few essential questions unanswered. Here are a few of them.

What about the console?

While the Wii U's controller took center stage, the Wii U itself wasn't nearly as prominent. Demonstration units, clearly prototypes, were relegated to hidden cabinets on the E3 show floor, and Nintendo made very little mention of the console itself during its conference. This is likely because the console is mostly incomplete, and as evidenced by the photo above, not very pretty.

And the specifications?

This was another area to which Nintendo did not venture. While developers from EA and elsewhere vaunted the console's HD capabilities, the full extent to the Wii U's power was barely even mentioned. Instead, Nintendo presented short tech demonstration of a bird flying to a Japanese garden. Pretty, yes, but not particularly helpful for those seeking to find out how the Wii U stacks up against the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Just how heavy is that controller?

It's no secret that the Wii U controller is big, so big that its unveiling elicited comparisons to the original Xbox controller, which isn't known for being compact. Of course, size is one thing, but what do the Wii U's controller's dimensions mean for the device's weight? A heavy controller does not an enjoyable gaming experience make, after all.

How's the battery life?

Another key detail Nintendo failed to mention is how long the Wii U's battery would last on a charge. While the controller does come with its own rechargeable battery, its speakers, microphone, cameras, and 6-inch screen will no doubt combine to create a pretty awful power situation. Fortunately, the controller feature its own AC adaptor port, which is helpful.

What's the price?

Traditionally, Nintendo has prided itself on creating the most affordable home console. The Wii, for instance, initially sold for $249, far less than what Sony and Microsoft were asking for their own devices. The Wii U, however, is a bit different. All the technology in that controller won't come cheap, and it would be quite a surprise if Nintendo sold the newest console for anything less than $400. But is the company brazen enough to go quite that far?

The release date?

All Nintendo has said so far is 2012, which isn't terribly helpful. Might the company say more at the Tokyo Games Show this September?

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