The rumours were true. Nintendo has gone live with its next-generation console - the Wii U.

Formerly named Project Cafe, the console will hit the shops next year and comes complete with an incredible new control pad setup. The Wii U controller, which works in tandem with a regular Wii-style remote, offers a 6.2-inch screen for an incredibly new, original and, quite frankly, brilliant looking new way of gaming.

The new controller packs two circle pads, a control pad, a camera (with video calling demoed), an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a microphone and, most importantly a touch screen.

“We haven’t achieved a gaming platform that is equally satisfying to all players,” said Nintendo’s boss Mr. Iwata, before promising deeper game experiences and a wider appeal to all gamers.

Nintendo showed off some incredible examples of how the system makes use of the new controller setup - with a Mario title being continued whilst a room-mate watched TV, an AR-like target system for a number of games, and also as a weapon and viewfinder for other games.

The company bods were keen to stress that the controller isn't a handheld console though - it needs the Wii U main gaming machine to function. However, the console will also be compatible with Wii peripherals too, including the Wiimote, so it should reward those who upgrade.

We at Pocket-lint are mighty impressed. Nintendo could have just re-invented gaming all over again. Even though we'll have to wait until 2012 to see it.

What do you think? Cool or what? Let us know in the comments below...

And check out our hands-on with the Wii U, with tonnes of exclusive photos from E3.