During an investor briefing today, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata clarified Nintendo’s goals for the coming months. With E3 quickly approaching, everyone is well aware that Nintendo will be unveiling more information on their upcoming console, the Wii U, along with a ton of exclusive new games.
Two things that won’t be revealed at the big event however, are things that many gamers have been anxious to learn about Nintendo’s next-gen console — the launch date and price.
According to Iwata, Nintendo plans on revealing the launch date and price of the Wii U after E3, which is exactly what they did for the Nintendo 3DS a little over a year ago. While that info won’t be seen or heard at this year’s big gaming event, plenty of other content will be, and that’s great news for anyone who’s been anticipating news on the Wii U since is was first revealed during last year’s E3.
“Please also be advised that, as we did for previous platforms that were launched in the year-end sales season, we will announce the launch date and price in each market sometime after E3.”
Nintendo then proceeded to drop a metaphorical bomb on consumers, announcing that first-party retail titles would start to become available for download on the Nintendo 3DS in unison with full blown retail releases. This move is only surprising because online gaming, let alone digital distribution, isn’t a field that the Big N has been known to excel in. The first game that’ll be up for digital grabs on the eShop is the newly announced New Super Mario Bros. 2, which is currently scheduled to launch this August.
“In principle, starting from this software, the company will offer the software titles that Nintendo itself publishes in both packaged and digital download formats so that our consumers can choose the way to purchase them.”
After confirming that their handheld system will feature downloadable retail games, Nintendo followed up by stating that the Wii U will also feature the same option. Right from day one, consumers will be able to download retail titles to the platform.
“For the Wii U, we will start the digital download sales of packaged software that I just discussed, so our consumers can choose either the packaged version or the digital download version of the same software from day one of the Wii U’s launch.”
This announcement is absolutely huge for a company that is often mocked for falling behind the technological curve. With Nintendo-made software currently being the only confirmed games that’ll be utilizing the service, it’s very probable that third-parties will follow suit and jump on the digital distribution train in the near future. This new venture also presents the opportunity to bring risky retail releases (i.e. Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, etc.) to North America, and it will literally cost the publisher close to nothing to do so – as long as they’ve already been localized for Europe.
The next few months should prove to be interesting for gamers, be them fans of Nintendo or not, and Game Rant will be here to keep you up to date as more news drops. Stay tuned.
Follow me on Twitter @TheRileyLittle for info on the Wii U and everything else related to video games.