Final version of Wii U hardware to appear at E3 2012

Nintendo’s quarterly earnings report continues to be the news gift that keeps on giving. First we heard Nintendo suffered its first financial loss in 30 years (opens in new tab), then they revealed DLC and demo plans for the eShop (opens in new tab), and now comes news on the Wii’s successor. Apparently Nintendo will unveil the “final format” of the Wii U (opens in new tab) at next year’s E3.

Above: Don’t get to accustomed to this look

We’re not exactly sure just what they mean by “final format;” it seems to imply the version we saw and played with months ago has changed, though how much is unclear. It’s not unheard of for hardware to be altered after being revealed, and Nintendo did it not too long ago with the original DS. Will Nintendo change the button layout on the tablet controller? Increase the power of the hardware? Change the system’s name?

Additionally, Nintendo seems to be planning the launch differently following the 3DS’s unsatisfactory premier. As Nintendo put it, “we learned a bitter lesson with the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, we are trying to take every possible measure so that the Wii U will have a successful launch.” Hopefully that implies coming out alongside games that aren’t under three hours long.

Speaking of the launch, this gives us some insight into when the Wii U will go on sale. At E3 Nintendo implied it would be sometime after April 2012, but if the final version will be revealed at E3 2012 in June, we can safely assume it’ll be out after that. Will Nintendo shock us all with a summer launch or go with the more practical fall?

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