"Mario,'' "Pikmin'' and other classic games have long been Nintendo's main draw.
Bhatia said sales expectations for the Wii U are fairly low, and Nintendo will be considered successful if the number of Wii Us it sell amounts to half the Wiis it sold.
That said, GameStop President Tony Bartel expects it to be a "really strong seller'' this holiday season. Although a lot of gaming these days takes place on mobile devices, Bartel said "true immersive gaming is still owned by consoles.''
Nintendo also announced new entertainment features for the console.
Called Nintendo TVii, the service collects all the ways users have to watch movies, TV shows and sports. So if you like the TV show "Modern Family,'' for example, it will pull in the show's episodes from every available source, whether that's on Hulu, Netflix or traditional cable TV.
The GamePad works as a fancy remote controller and will let viewers browse shows they can watch. Users will be able to select favorites and send them to other Wii users in their network as suggestions. In addition, families will be able to set up separate profiles, so that kids don't end up watching the drug-dealing drama "Breaking Bad,'' for example.
The service also captures scenes from live TV and displays them on the controller. Viewers can then comment on the scenes and share that on Twitter or Facebook if they want. With this feature, Nintendo is playing into what many people already do while they watch TV -- comment and share things with friends using a second screen such as a smartphone.
"Our goal is to disrupt the video space the way that Nintendo has historically disrupted the gaming space,'' said Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America.
He added that the service "continues our mission of creating compelling entertainment experiences and doing it in surprising ways.''
Pronounced "tee-veeee,'' TVii will be available Nov. 18 as well in the U.S. and Canada, at no extra cost. Nintendo didn't give plans for TVii in other countries.
Nintendo said more than 50 games will be available for Wii U by the end of March.
Among them will be Activision Blizzard Inc.'s "Call of Duty Black Ops II.'' The "Call of Duty'' games have been holiday best-sellers for the past several years. But it's unlikely that hardcore gamers will flock to the Wii U just to play "Call of Duty,'' given the vast multiplayer gaming network that the Xbox 360 offers.
But Eric Hirshberg, CEO Activision Publishing, called it a big improvement for "Call of Duty'' on Nintendo. Not a lot of people played it on the original Wii because it lacks realistic, high-definition graphics that has been one of the game's main draws on other machines.
As for Wii U, he added, it "makes games we tend to make much more legit.''