US Wii Price, Launch Date Revealed
The news we've all been waiting for.
by Kathleen Sanders and Matt Casamassina
September 13, 2006 - Nintendo fans finally have a price and release date for the company's new generation console, Wii. The Big N is set to officially announce that the system will hit retail in North and South America for $250 on November 19.
The New York Times published with 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 bard 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 when the system launches. 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 $50 for its new Wii games, which is $10 cheaper than the cost of typical Xbox 360 titles. (Please note that this is First-Party games, prices have not been announced for Third-Part Wii games -- publishers are free to set their own prices on Wii titles.)
Nintendo Co. Ltd. revealed that Wii's various controllers would be available to buy separately at launch. The Wii remote will cost 3800 yen or about $40; the nunchuck 1800 yen or about $20 and the classic controller 1800 yen or 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 system will ship with the Opera Web browser, enabling users to connect online.
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 transfered 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, it 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 click right here for a 14-page walkthrough of the system's ambitious features.
Included in the list of options are demonstrations of the 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.