...we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take.

Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has confirmed to investors that the planned follow-up to the struggling Wii U console is already in some form of development.

We are preparing for our next hardware system,” the Nintendo president told investors in recently released minutes from an investor meeting. “In fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take.”

Once we launch a new platform, we naturally start to prepare for the next one. As it takes several years to develop a single platform, if you ask us whether we are preparing for our next system, then the correct response will be that we are always developing new hardware.

“On the other hand, the most difficult question for us to answer in public in concrete terms is when we are going to launch our new hardware and what kind of hardware we are going to launch, and I am afraid that I cannot talk about this in more detail.”

However Nintendo has no plans to abandon the Wii U saying that they will continue to work to ensure that Wii U owners will still see a great value in the systems and software.

Any new Nintendo hardware could be years away not offering an immediate solution to Nintendo's ailing console. It was recently announced that Nintendo plans to expand into other regions but will most likely develop all new consoles and games for those regions instead of modifying the existing hardware.

Nintendo is counting on the upcoming Mario Kart 8 - which drops on May 30 - to go a long way to saving the Wii U. Gamers will have the opportunity to try out the new game at GameStop this weekend, check out the details here.

RELATED: Nazis, Klansmen, and Full Frontal Nudity: A Very NSFW "Super Mario Bros 3." Hack

RELATED: 5 Things Nintendo Needs in its Next Console

RELATED: Two Decades of Blue Shells: 15 of the Greatest "Mario Kart" Moments in GIFs

[via MCVUK]