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Nintendo’s new Wii U video game console, set to launch later this year, is taking a page from competitors’ playbooks as it will include features designed to make the device a hub for TV viewing, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The device includes a controller called the GamePad and a new feature, called Nintendo TVii, that will integrate Internet video content from the likes of Netflix, Amazon.com and Hulu Plus. Live TV will be available through set-top boxes from pay TV providers, but the device can also interact with TiVo DVRs.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 consoles have long moved towards becoming entertainment centers in people’s living rooms.
Nintendo unveiled Thursday that the new console would launch in the U.S. on Nov. 18, starting at $300, and in Japan on Dec. 8.
The device will be the first home console from Kyoto-based Nintendo since the 2006 launch of the Wii. It follows the portable 3DS, whose sales have failed to match expectations since its launch last year.
The success of the Wii U is key for the once high-flying Japanese company, which recently reported its first annual loss in more than three decades.
“What Nintendo TVii does is consolidate individual consumer TV choices and deliver it back in a compelling, integrated way,” Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo’s North American operations, told the Journal. The service will launch in the U.S. and Canada, with further expansions also being considered.
“Through the Wii U, we hope to advance the expansion of the gaming population – something we achieved with the original Wii – and advance it even further,” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said in an online video.
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