Today Nintendo is set to finally give us all some concrete details regarding the Wii U’s launch. Nintendo of America’s press conference isn’t set until this afternoon, but Nintendo’s Japanese branch has already started doling out information regarding the new system’s launch over there.
The Wii U will launch in Japan on December 8th, and will be sold in two varieties: a “Basic” package, which includes a white Wii U system, an 8GB hard drive, a Wii U tablet controller, as well as AC adapters for the system and the controller, and an HDMI cable for 26,250 yen. The premium package, which costs about 10,000 yen more, replaces the White Wii U with a black one, adds in a 32 GB harddrive, and also bundles in 2 years of Nintendo Network Premium, which I’m assuming is Nintendo’s version of Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii U and Nintendoland were confirmed as launch titles, and Nintendo says they’ll unveil the rest of the Wii U’s launch line-up later today. Nintendo also confirmed that Virtual Console purchases made on the original Wii will be able to be transferred over to Wii U.
The multiple SKU’s lines up with previous rumors, and the Japanese prices also match up with what earlier leaks had reported as well. Like I said, Nintendo of America won’t announced American launch details until this afternoon, but it’s safe at this point to assume that the rumored $250 launch price and pre-Thanksgiving launch date are accurate.
Hopefully, I hope Nintendo decides to pack in bigger harddrives with the American releases — digital distribution is still a niche service in Japan, but American and European audiences have adopted it gladly, so Nintendo’s tiny 32GB harddrives might not cut it over here. Also, Nintendo plans to sell all their disc based games digitally as well, and the Wii U uses special discs that hold up to 25 gigs of data– which means downloading one full game would almost take up all of the 32GB HDD. Another potential hiccup is the price: the Wii U systems bundles are pretty cheap compared to the prices of the other HD systems, but extra controllers are pricy: a second tablet controller will cost about $150, judging by the Japanese price.
Hopefully Nintendo of America will address these concerns, and give us some details about some new Wii U games, when their press conference starts in a few hours.
UPDATE – Nintendo of America just finished their press conference, and well… a lot of my predictions were wrong. Some of them were right though! … You can read all the details here.