Nintendo Network would also provide the framework for online multiplayer interactions, add-on content, as well as online distribution of applications and video games.
Iwata mentioned that the Wii U Game Pad would support NFC, which would allow the system to wirelessly interact with figurines and cards.
After its E3 2010 presentation, Iwata revealed to the BBC that Nintendo would begin announcing a new console once it ran "out of ideas with the current hardware and cannot give users any more meaningful surprises with the technology".
Later, at an investor's meeting, he disclosed that Nintendo was "of course studying and developing the next console to Wii", but it was simultaneously keeping its concepts secret because it was "really important for [his] business to positively surprise people." Conflicting reports also surrounded the console's new controller, with reports suggesting a tablet-like device with an embedded touchcreen and the ability to stream games from the console directly to the screen, while others reported that the controller would be similar to the Game Cube controller and feature dual analog sticks, shoulder buttons, and triggers.
In early June, Nikkei issued a report confirming earlier rumors that the new console would feature a controller with a 6-inch touchscreen that would give tablet-like controls to games, as well as a rechargeable battery and camera.
Project Café was officially unveiled as the Wii U during Nintendo's press conference at E3 2011 by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé; he explained that the Wii U would be "a system we will all enjoy together, but also one that's tailor-made for you".
The Wii U launched in North America priced at US9.99 for the Basic Set and US9.99 for the Deluxe Set.
The Wii U was met with a generally positive reception, including praise for its Game Pad controller, improvements to online functionality over the Wii, backwards compatibility with existing Wii software and controllers, affordability in comparison to other eighth-generation consoles, and non-reliance on a subscription for online functionality.
However, the Wii U received criticism in several areas, including the Game Pad's battery life and issues with the console's user interface and functionality, along with a weak lineup of launch titles and a lack of clear vision.
On July 25, the company released an improved battery pack for the Wii U Game Pad.
In contrast to the standard 1500m Ah battery bundled with the console, the new 2550m Ah battery pack increases longevity to between five and eight hours before needing to be recharged.