In typical Nintendo fashion, the company has clamped down on the flow of information about its upcoming console since its debut at E3 2011 back in June. This is the same sort of steely-eyed silence that Nintendo has demonstrated prior to every console release since the N64, so no surprise there - but given that the company has been pushing its new handheld at the same time, there's been extra reason not to make noise. However, the flow hasn't completely run dry.
In Nintendo's recent financial results briefing, the company confirmed that the "final format of the Wii U" will be at the next E3 and suggested strongly that the system will release when it is ready and has a full line-up of titles:
As we learned a bitter lesson with the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, we are trying to take every possible measure so that the Wii U will have a successful launch.
Further, as many have suspected, the current dearth of first-party Wii titles scheduled for release this year is a direct result of internal development focusing on the Wii U. Eurogamer has also reported that developers (notably, Sega) received revised dev kits for the Wii U over the summer. Of course, no developer is willing to break their NDA with Nintendo and release any new information on the console.
Meanwhile, while some analysts are forecasting a lack of third-party exclusives for the Wii U, heavyweights like EA and the aforementioned Sega have already pledged that they're coming to Nintendo's new party. EA's Peter Moore has said that they have teams worldwide in development on the Wii U, and that "Our key franchises will be there. We've made that commitment to Nintendo." Moore further called the screen on the new controller "fascinating" and "a big deal" in terms of gameplay possibilities.
Nintendo intends to launch the console in the fiscal year of April 2012 - March 2013. While there's some mild speculation out there that this means the system may slip beyond a December 2012 release date because the year "2013" has been bandied about in talk about its release window, don't bet on it. Nintendo's only saying it will release in that fiscal year. While it undoubtedly wants to avoid a repeat of the 3DS's launch and ensure the Wii U arrives ready and with a strong line-up, missing the holiday shopping season would likely send Nintendo shareholders into paroxysms.
In rumour territory, there's been more than a bit of speculation recently that GTA V is coming to the Wii U. There are lots of reasons people are positing for why this would be a logical step for Rockstar and Nintendo both, and if Nintendo is as committed to wooing the 360/PS3 market as it says it is, this would be a solid step in that direction. But unless the upcoming GTA V trailer has any big reveals about where it'll be showing up, this remains deep in rumour country.
E3 2012 is a long way away, and there will certainly be bits and pieces of information about the Wii U and its launch lineup that leak between now and then; we'll report on them for you as they emerge.