So The Wii Looks To Have A Pretty Impressive Launch...

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US Wii Price, Launch Date Revealed

The news we've all been waiting for.

by Kathleen Sanders and Matt Casamassina

September 13, 2006 - (This story has been updated with new and clarified information from Nintendo's North American presentation.)

Nintendo fans finally have a price and release date for the company's new generation console, Wii. The Big N has officially announced that the system will hit retail in North and South America for $249.99 on November 19. The New York Times initially published the story and seems, in fact, to have beaten Nintendo Co. Ltd with the news.

Nintendo's Wii console will come packaged with one Wii remote, one nunchuck attachment, an AC adapter, an audio/video cable, a sensor bar, sensor bar stand, a Wii console stand, and two batteries. The US package will also come bundled with a copy of Wii Sports, a compilation sports game that best shows off the mechanics of the system's unique controller. Wii Sports features tennis, baseball, golf, and previously-unannounced bowling and boxing games.

Nintendo said it would provide Wii owners with more than 25 unique games this year.

Wii's much-talked-about Virtual Console download service, which enables gamers to purchase classic games, will offer a library of some 30 titles by the end of the year. Titles will include entries from the Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong franchises, Nintendo said. Virtual Console games will cost between $5 and $10 each. Specifically, Nintendo Co. Ltd. announced that Virtual Console games would cost 500 yen ($5), 800 yen ($8) or 1,000 yen ($10); we're presuming these prices are for NES, SNES, and N64 games respectively.

The Big N confirmed that it would charge $49.99 for its new Wii games, which is $10 cheaper than the cost of typical Xbox 360 titles. (Please note that this price is for first-party games; prices have not been announced for third-party Wii games -- publishers are free to set their own prices on Wii titles.)

Nintendo revealed that Wii's various controllers would be available to buy separately at launch. The Wii remote will cost $39.99; the nunchuck $19.99 and the classic controller about $20.

In a surprise announcement, Nintendo said that it wanted to make Wii a living room centerpiece by shipping the system with features outside of the videogame realm. Wii will include a photo channel, enabling users to display their digital photos through the console. It will also boast regularly updated news and weather channels. In addition, the Opera browser will be available for the system, enabling users to access the web with the console.

One of the channels available on Wii is called the "Mii Channel." Here, players can customize avatars by selecting from a variety of face shapes, hair styles, color schemes, and so on. The hook is that these avatars can not only be stored on the console itself, they can also be transferred to the Wii remote itself -- presumably so players can easily access their personalized characters and take them with them when playing against friends.

Sony recently announced that it would ready 400,000 PS3s in North America and another 100,000 in Japan for the system's launch. Nintendo said it plans to ship 4 million Wii units worldwide by the end of the year.

Nintendo will launch Wii in Japan on December 2 of this year for 25,000 yen, the company revealed. North America will get the system first.

Nintendo of Japan has added an amazing breakdown of the Wii's various interfaces to its overseas website. Everything is in Japanese, but the videos speak for themselves. Readers can check the site directly for a 14-page walkthrough of the system's ambitious features. Included in the list of options are demonstrations of the weather forecast, Mii, and photo channels. The forecast launches a virtual globe that can be spun in any direction. In the photo channel, users can load hundreds of their favorite photos and edit them in real-time. It's possible to message friends with Mii character profiles and to send pictures in messages. And the videos demonstrate surfing the Web with Wii's Opera browser. These are absolute must-see videos.

There's a lot of talk in respect of Nintendo's launch, and I must say, aside from certain launch titles being pushed back (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption being one of those titles), the launch of Wii looks that much more impressive than I admitedly thought it would be. Not only are we now receiving a good 75 to 100 dollars worth of extra stuff, but we're getting classic titles from the past via virtual console for cheaper than most trade and swap game stores. It also comes with a lot of capabilities. I'm very impressed with the way this system is shaping up, and as much as people want to knock it for taking a significant hardware hit in comparison to the other mammoth consoles (Playstation 3 and Xbox 360), it really looks to be far more capable of things that interest me as a gamer. There's a definetly a bridge made by Nintendo with this attempt to change the gaming experience, and I'm now far more excited about this than I was a handful of days ago.


Edited by Conundrum
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The only problems I have with it, the name, and emulators. I've been using emulators for years and wouldn't wanna spend money on "classic" games. Pus the fact I have about 30 NES games sitting in a basket over here. :lol:

If I wasn't such a die hard PC gaming fan I might look into one. Also I'm poor as dirt right now, especially thanks to my gaming rig, and my parents ain't rich either thanks to my laptop. :P

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