We're less than a week away from the Electronic Entertainment Expo, with developers and manufacturers all vying for attention.
However, this year's show is all about Nintendo, with the company's eagerly anticipated Wii U in the spotlight. And with seemingly no next-generation Xbox or PlayStation to be seen, all eyes are on Nintendo to dazzle in the hardware arena.
The tablet controller is unquestionably the standout feature of the Wii U, with initial videos providing a tantalising glimpse into the machine's capabilities.
The initial Wii U trailer did a great job of showing off a few possibilities.
Hardcore fans are also targeted thanks to Ghost Recon Online.
That tablet controller...
At E3 2012, Nintendo is expected to lay the console bare, showing exactly what it can do and at what cost.
Nintendo has made developers sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding features surrounding the tablet controller. So we're expecting a slew of videos showcasing creative uses for the large device.
But we've received another taste of what's to come, with a leaked trailer for Rayman Legends making its way onto the internet a few weeks back. And that's where things get pretty intriguing...
Nintendo's Achille's Heel
Then there's the all-important online infrastructure, a key component of any system these days and an area that Nintendo's been lagging in. To even stand a chance of gaining a foothold in this arena, the company will have to at least match Microsoft's Xbox Live offering.
So that means offering demos, full game downloads, video-on-demand services, video chat, messaging and of course online play. And that's before we even touch on what Nintendo could do with the tablet too, like video recording and uploading, downloadable titles made for playback on the controller and internet browsing (already seen in the original Wii U trailer).
The expectation is that Nintendo will be outlining its Nintendo Network online service, originally launched on the 3DS.
Graphics and cost
The biggest question surrounding the Wii U is just exactly how much horsepower is it pumping out. Reports have ranged from it being slightly less powerful than current consoles to being "50 percent more powerful" than the Xbox 360, according to Eurogamer.
Leaked specifications have however confirmed that the machine possesses a quad-core IBM processor with a clock speed of at least 3GHz (the Xbox 360 features a tri-core processor running at 3.2GHz), being corroborated by multiple sources.
The architecture makes it super easy to port games from current generation consoles, with Metro 2033: Last Light, Batman Arkham City and other titles all set to appear on the console.
In fact, Gearbox Software developers, currently working on Aliens: Colonial Marines, have called it a "powerful, powerful machine", saying that the Wii U game would be the best-looking version of the lot.
The fact that the machine isn't using a bleeding-edge processor means that we shouldn't expect a retail price of $500-$600, as was the case with the PlayStation 3.
The real cost will be in terms of the controller itself, packed with sensors and the large display. It remains to be seen just how expensive the controller will be, but we won't be surprised if buying an additional controller costs over $100.
Then there's the issue of multiple tablet support, with Nintendo originally saying that the console is only compatible with one controller at a time. Of course, it didn't sit well with gamers, with Nintendo deciding to investigate the possibility of using multiple controllers. So we can expect Nintendo to come back with an answer next week.
A repeat of the Wii?
While the Wii U is being compared to current generation consoles, the real battle will be against Sony and Microsoft's next offerings, after all, a new machine should be more powerful than seven-year-old consoles.
Thus, the real question will be whether the Wii U will be able to entice gamers from what will inevitably be more powerful rivals.
Sega's Dreamcast was trapped in the same situation, being more powerful than the Saturn, PlayStation One and N64 at the time. Along with innovative online play and the neat VMU memory unit, the console stood out from the pack too. Unfortunately, it was killed off by the PS2, GameCube and Xbox.
On the other hand, the relatively underpowered Wii managed to fight off its vastly superior competitors, so...
What do you think of Nintendo's Wii U? Let us know in the comments!