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Nintendo Wii U: Games Fans Queue For Console

(c) Sky News 2012

Games fans queued outside a store in London's Oxford Street, eager to be among the first in the UK to own the much-anticipated Wii U.

The first major home console launch since 2006 has already proved popular in the US, despite mixed reviews, and there has been a high demand for pre-orders in the UK, launch hosts HMV said.

The Wii U features the GamePad controller, a tablet-type device that allows users to continue playing after the connected television has been turned off or switched to another channel.

The controller boasts a 6.2in touchscreen display and a three to five-hour battery life.

Among the games expected to be best-sellers are ZombiU, which carries an 18 age restriction, NintendoLand - the Wii Sports for the new console - and New Super Mario Bros U.

The console launched in the US earlier in November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) , with most concerns surrounding the amount of games that will be available to justify the minimum £250 cost.

Others have mentioned the controller's weak battery performance, a lack of stand-out launch games and frustrating menus and online services.

Nintendo UK marketing director Shelly Pearce told Sky's Jeff Randall Live the Wii U's inbuilt screen "fundamentally changes the way you play video games".

She (SNP: ^SHEY - news) said all existing games can be played on the new console and it offers "a really deep gaming experience".

Earlier she said: "We can't wait to get the Wii U into the hands of our fans in the UK."

Over the summer at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Nintendo illustrated how New Super Mario Bros. U could be played on either a TV or the touchscreen controller.

The latest instalment in the brick-smashing, coin-collecting franchise lets up to four people play simultaneously with traditional controllers, while another can join in with the touchscreen controller to jab enemies and build platforms.

New Super Mario Bros. U and NintendoLand demonstrate what Nintendo calls "asymmetric gameplay" - where a group of people playing together are having very different play experiences on a single game.

And after taking on board criticism of the original Wii's awkward online system, Nintendo has boosted the new console's connected capabilities.

"The system will know when you're playing with your user account - everything that you've played in the past, what your preferences are," said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.

"So it will truly be an experience unique to you. Versus if your wife or your children want different experiences, they really are tailored for each particular consumer."