Nintendo Wii U coming 2012, complete with online gaming and NFC controllers

We've Nintendo Wii U news aplenty following bossman Satoru Iwata's comments following the latest earnings call by the Japanese gaming giant.

First up is confirmation of what we all kind of knew already - that the next-generation console is going to land before 2012 is up. Iwata said that it will be released in the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan "for the year-end season". We think that's a Lost in Translation way of saying "in time for Christmas".

Next up is the news that Nintendo is ready to ditch the pain-in-the-bum friends code process for online gaming and open up a PlayStation Network / Xbox Live rival called Nintendo Network.

The online gaming platform will play host to "competitions and communication among users, as well as the sales of digital content," and will also launch Nintendo personal user accounts. It's going to hit the 3DS first (the "communication" part is already part of Mario Kart 7) before being an integral part of the new living room machine.

The final bit of Nintendo news is that the controller is to pack NFC capabilities. The reason for its inclusion is to "read and write data via non-contact NFC and to expand the new play format in the video game world", so expect to see plenty of games with tied in additional content such as playing cards and action figures.

Iwata also said that "adoption of this functionality will enable various other possibilities such as using it as a means of making micropayments."

Nintendo is predicting big losses financially for 2012, so will be hoping that the Wii U has a big enough pull to be the saviour.