The Nintendo Wii U, the Japanese firm's next console, is set for a full unveiling at E3 2012 in June, rather than be subject to a March launch, as previously rumoured. And that means that it could be available in the UK by Christmas next year.

Speaking about the new console, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata illustrated the company's eagerness to avoid making the same mistakes that blighted sales of the 3DS in 2011: "Based on the bitter experiences we have had with the Nintendo 3DS, we are making every effort to prepare so that the Wii U will not stumble during its launch," he said.

He also revealed that the Wii U will be go on sale in the next fiscal year (after April - poo-poohing rumours of a March release). But as Nintendo has confirmed that the final version will be shown for the first time at E3, it is not likely to be available before the end of June. And that suggests that the UK may not get it until just before Christmas time, or even beyond.

So, if you've been holding off from buying the new, slimmer and cheaper Nintendo Wii this Christmas in preparation for the Wii U, you may as well take the plunge.

Are you looking forward to playing with the Wii U? Or is next year too long to wait? Let us know in the comments below...

- Nintendo Wii U pictures and hands-on