The Nintendo Wii U is the only console launch of the year with the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 not expected until next year.
The Wii U is the successor to the popular Wii and starts at £249 for the basic pack. It's main feature and selling point is the new GamePad which has a 6.2in screen – it can be used as a second display to the TV or entirely on its own, like a tablet.
Here’s a round-up of what the world is saying about the Wii U. See also: Nintendo Wii Mini announced
PC Advisor "cool concept"
In our hands-on with the Wii U, courtesy of Julian Rignall and Justin Haywald, we described the console as "a cool and interesting concept" which "lets you interact with games in an innovative way, and really opens up some serious potential for new types of gaming".
Talking on the new GamePad, the pair said: "Wii U's screen looks big; it's basically a tablet... but that doesn't keep it from being an effective game controller."
"it felt great. Surprisingly, your hands fit on the buttons and analog sticks without feeling stretched or uncomfortable."
"The touchscreen looks good, but I'm not sure why you'd want to play on the controller by choice."
"Part of the problem is the games - there are simply very few truly great Wii games." adds Rignall and Haywald. "The Wii U has a lot of potential, but do you need another (massive) controller sitting on your coffee table? I'm willing to give Nintendo the benefit of the doubt. But while it seems other consoles are going for smaller controllers - or no controller at all - Nintendo is taking a gamble with its big new pad.
The Guardian "wonderfully quirky"
Keith Stuart describes the Wii U as "wonderfully quirky" but a "difficult proposition". The GamePad "means you can view important information on it such as maps or team formations, but you can also use it to play the whole game if someone else wants to watch the TV."
"You can tell your gran how to play Wii Sports in a couple of seconds but try explaining the concept of asymmetric multiplayer and it's a very different matter."
Talking of the Wii U's competition with future rival consoles from Sony and Microsoft, Stuart concludeds that, "It didn't matter with Wii, but this time I'm not as sure. Wii U is another wonderfully quirky product, and after a few days of use, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. But I'm not sure what the industry will make of it. Everyone loves the fact that Nintendo plays by its own rules – it's just that, this time, not everyone is going to understand them."
The Telegraph "convoluted but fascinating"
Tom Hoggins says the Wii U is a "video games console positively brimming with potential, with the Gamepad's varied and flexible toolkit allowing for some tantalising possiblities. Most importantly, it is a console with a sense of playfulness and childish glee that only the House of Mario can seem to muster. Now that's a language that anyone can understand, Nintendo just need to find a way to spread the message."
T3 "We just hope everyone's game"
T3 thinks, "The Wii U’s launch line-up is strong, covering everything from triple-A big-hitters to cheaper indie downloads, single-player adventures to multiplayer feasts."
For what T3 says is an "obvious upgrade" for existing Wii owners, "The Wii U once again sees Nintendo plotting its own course and the results are as unique as they are satisfying. We just hope everyone is game."
TechRadar "different from the pack"
Andrew Hayward sums thing up with two sides. "For Nintendo fans looking to finally enter the HD era, the Wii U may seem like a beacon of light in an endless downpour – and if you're coming from the Wii, it will be quite impressive, indeed."
"There's great fun to be had on the Wii U right away, but we struggle to call it an essential purchase for those still enjoying games on other platforms."
Trusted Reviews "seriously impressive"
Stuart Andrews seems impressed with the Wii U overall. "Even by Nintendo’s standards, this is no ordinary run-of-the-mill console. The Wii U GamePad is a strange, brilliant and versatile controller, and employed properly might just power a new wave of fantastic, innovative games."
"As a vehicle for family fun, the Wii U is a formidable system, despite a slow UI and the odd niggle here and there. The struggle will be working out how it fits in between the current console generation and the next, and maintaining third-party support, but the potential is there for some great games, and some really unique experiences."
Stuff "a revelation"
Tom Parons scores the Wii U highly but is concerned about the console's longevity.
"Is the Wii U the next generation of console gaming? Nope. Not even a little bit. As developers get used to its architecture it’s possible that cross-platform games will look and perform better on the Wii U than they do on the Xbox 360 and PS3, but by that time the Xbox 720 and PS4 (or whatever it is they actually end up being called) will also be available. Whether the Wii U still has a place then will depend on what games emerge in the interim and whether developers can push the limits of the GamePad."
"So it’s not an essential gaming upgrade by any means, but it is very good fun – particularly for living room multiplayer action. If you’re a Ninty fan with £250 to splurge, we recommend it. But if you’re waiting for the next big thing in gaming it’s worth holding out to see what 2013 has in store."