More new consoles, great games, and new ways to play them are just a few of the things to look forward to in 2012.

A closer look at the Wii U

E3 2011 saw Nintendo for the first time reveal its new Wii U console during a presentation that ended up being as confusing as it was exciting. Nintendo appeared to be showing a touchscreen tablet, that Nintendo had to later confirm was not the console itself, but a controller that can stream gameplay from console to controller to act as spare screen.

The HD graphics and an abundance of core games that the Wii has been missing have been promised. Since June we’ve heard very little, although Nintendo did confirm that we’ll see plenty more in 2012, well before it arrives in stores. Stay tuned.

Asynchronous multiplayer

Not a term that rolls of the tongue – asynchronous multiplayer is essentially turn-based multiplayer – currently used in Kinect Sports: Season 2 to encourage players to rack up a high score – and then encourage one of their buddies to beat it. In Forza Motorsport 4, players receive notifications whenever one of their race times have been beaten by a friend, or whether that friend has issued a challenge. Expect to see this kind of thing a lot more, and new twists on it in 2012, as studios explore new ways to refresh multiplayer .

More great sequels

Console owners can look forward to plenty of great sequels. Games with continuing stories and new additions to popular series include: Mass Effect 3, Halo 4, Max Payne 3, Far Cry 3, and Grand Theft Auto 5. Others to watch out for include Street Fighter X Tekken, Metal Gear Solid: Rising and the much-hyped BioShock Infinite – leaving us in no doubt that 2012 should be a corker.

We could see the new

Rumours of a new Xbox have been boiling over for the past year. As 2012 edges near those rumours have bubbled up to the surface once more. Recent reports citing insider “sources” say could make an announcement as early as January 2012, with a reveal to come at E3 2012 . The word is that will release two versions. The first will be an entry-level unit likened to a Kinect-compatible set-top box. The second will be “fully featured”, have an optical drive, be backwards compatible and priced higher for “hardcore” gamers. If any of this is true, expect the next Xbox to arrive in stores in 2013.

Voice commands

Expect to be doing a lot of talking to your console in 2012. Microsoft has taken the initiative here by allowing Xbox 360 and Kinect owners to activate search and command functions on the Xbox 360 dashboard. And we can see the technology creeping into more games. Kinect Sports: Season 2 currently allows players to change golf clubs and switch up tactics when playing baseball. In Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary saying “scan” will scan the area for nearby items. Mass Effect 3 will also use voice commands to initiate dialogue chains. It’s time to loosen up those vocal chords.

Have we missed anything? Got any predictions for 2012? Drop us a message in the comments section below.

3a81d86966ize 11.jpg Gaming in 2012: Five things to look out for

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Gaming in 2012: Five things to look out for