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Nintendo's follow-up to the Wii coming in 2012, will debut at E3 in June

April 25, 2011 | 12:01 pm

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Nintendo's successor to the Wii is a rumor no more.

The Japanese video game company confirmed Monday that it is developing a new home console, set to hit shelves in 2012.

The new console, which Nintendo hasn't yet publicly named, will make its debut at the video game industry conference E3 in Los Angeles this June, as Times reporter Alex Pham noted on the Company Town blog.

Rumors have been swirling for months that Nintendo was working on a new console, with names popping up across the Internet such as Wii 2, Wii HD and Project Cafe.

What will the new system entail? Some predict a simple push toward more computing horsepower and high-definition graphics. Others expect a console that uses a tablet computer as an alternative to the motion-sensing Wii Remotes that Nintendo currently employs.

Nintendo isn't yet talking about what the new system will look like, but the company is known for offering unique ways to play games.

The Wii, for example, was the first home system to introduce motion-sensing controllers -- a feature its rivals, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360, now have as well.

The newly introduced Nintendo 3DS portable system is the first to feature glasses-free 3-D images.

But although the Wii was a huge success for Nintendo early on, often selling out in retail stores across the U.S. and Japan, its favor has declined dramatically among consumers.

Nintendo announced the follow-up console while posting double-digit declines in sales and profit for its fiscal year that ended March 31. As Pham reported:

The Japanese game company on Monday said its revenue slumped 29% to roughly $12.4 billion last year. Profit slid 66% to $948 million.

The results were much lower than Nintendo had forecast for the year, issued last May, for sales of 1.4 trillion yen and net income of 200 billion yen.

It was the second year that Nintendo's earnings took a beating. During the previous fiscal year ended March 2010, sales were down 22% while profit fell 18%.

At the core of Nintendo's poor earnings lie depressed sales of video game consoles and the games themselves. From Pham:

After enjoying a massive wave of popularity, sales of the Wii fell 25% to just over 15 million units last year, compared with 20.5 million the prior year.

Sales of its DS series of handheld consoles also took a nosedive. In the fiscal year just ended, DS sales dropped 22% to 21.1 million units, including 3.6 million units of Nintendo's new 3DS console, which was introduced toward the end of March. The year before, Nintendo sold 27.1 million DS consoles.

Head over to Company Town to read Pham's full report: Nintendo, battered by slow Wii sales, to unveil new game console at E3.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Two women play a game on a Nintendo Wii console at a trade show in Leipzig, Germany, in 2008. Credit: Waltraud Grubitzsch / EPA

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