Nintendo has revealed that it is indeed working on a high definition, touchscreen-based console, dubbed Wii U.
The device looks like a tablet and allows users to play games either on a television or on the controller itself. For example, during a video demonstration, a person was able to transfer a game of New Super Mario Bros. Wii from a TV to the controller so that someone else could watch a TV program. The content is transferred wirelessly.
The video also showed a wide range of applications for the device. You can weigh yourself on a Wii Fit balance board and bring up the information on the Wii U, flick ninja stars from the Wii U to a game on a television, and use the touchscreen as a Wacom-style tablet to draw, browse the Web, play multiplayer board games, video chat, or act as an inventory management device for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
"Please understand that it was not designed to be a portable video game machine," Nintendo President Saturo Iwata explained.
In addition to the touchscreen, the Wii U features two analog sticks, a directional pad, two shoulder buttons, a built-in microphone, speakers, an inward-facing camera, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer.
Several games were announced for the console, two of which will also be available on the Nintendo 3DS. These include a brand new entry in the Smash Bros. series and an open-world title called Lego City Stories.
In an obvious attempt to cater to more traditional gamers, titles like Darksiders II, Batman Arkham City, Assassin's Creed, Dirt, Aliens Colonial Marines, Ghost Recon Online, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden 3, and Metro Last Night will also be available on the console.
The Wii U is expected to launch sometime in 2012.