[Update: North American Wii U release date and pricing revealed.]
During tonight’s Nintendo Direct press conference the publisher finally revealed a price, release date, and a few additional details in regards to their new console, the Wii U. While the event was focused on the Japanese market, it does give gamers in the North America and Europe a better idea of what Nintendo might announce later today.
In Japan, the Wii U will come in two different versions: a black 32GB Premium set that will retail for ¥31,500 and a white 8GB set that will retail for ¥26,250. The white version will ship with the console (of course), one gamepad, an HDMI cable, and a power cord, whereas the black version will come with all those pieces and a console stand and gamepad dock as well. It’s strange that Nintendo is positioning the black Wii U as the “premium set” considering it wasn’t announced until E3 2012, but it is likely to be the more sought after version.
To put the price points in perspective, ¥31,500 comes out to around $405 and ¥26,250 is $338 — a far stretch from the $250 predictions that circulated when the console was first announced. Apparently not only is the $100 tablet controller pretty expensive, so is the console itself. If the US version were to follow suit, our guess is that the 32 GB would retail for $400 and the 8 GB would go for $350.
In addition to a price, Nintendo also revealed the Wii U houses 2 GB of RAM — 1 GB for system memory and 1 GB for games. It’s a far stretch from the high-end PCs of today, but 2 GB of RAM is nearly quadruple what is found in the current Xbox 360, a contradiction to claims the Wii U was barely more powerful than Microsoft’s console.
Nintendo also unveiled its own version of Xbox Live Gold called Nintendo Network Premium. The Nintendo Network is the publisher’s response to fans demanding a more immersive online experience, but this Premium element grants gamers eShop points and a 10% discount on digital purchases. The Premium subscription, however, can only be purchased with the 32 GB Premium Wii U set, but the service runs through December of 2014.
And now for the most important announcement of the night: when the console releases (in Japan, that is). Nintendo revealed that the Wii U would be available on December 8th, perfect timing for the Holiday season. If the console launches around the same time in the States it would give gamers plenty of time to pick up the fall season’s highly anticipated titles, and then budget themselves for a new console.
Remember — all of this information is only in regards to the Japanese Wii U release, but it should give gamers across the Pacific a better idea of what they’re in store for.
Source: Nintendo Direct