The Wii U was announced back at E3 2011, but we’ve spent the past year waiting on a price and a launch date. Finally, a Nintendo event in New York has given us the succulent info we’ve all desired.
In the U.S., the Wii U will launch on November 18th. The basic model will retail for $299.99, while the premium model will retail for $349.99. It will later come to Europe on November 30th and Japan on December 8th.
The basic model of the Wii U will come with the Wii U itself, a Wii U GamePad, a stylus, a Wii U AC Adapter, a Wii U GamePad AC adapter, and an HDMI cable. It sure is nice of Nintendo to be the first company to include an HDMI cable with your console.
The Premium model, on the other hand, will come with everything the basic model comes with, but it also comes with a stand for both the console and gamepad, a charging dock for the GamePad, and a copy of NintendoLand. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider that the basic model only has 8GB of internal memory and the premium model has 32GB, it’s starting to look like a better buy. Either way, the small hard drives on both consoles make it pretty certain that Nintendo will not be entering the digital distribution space in any significant fashion any time soon. It looks like it’s only Virtual Console and indie games for now.
The Wii U will follow in the footsteps of the GameCube in that its media will be totally proprietary. They will be a 25GB disc format that will be read at 22.5 MB per second. That’s rather impressive and will likely put a dent in any hacker’s plans to rip games off their discs. Then again, hackers found a way around the GameCube’s mini-discs, so I’m guessing they will eventually find a way around the Wii U’s discs as well.
But don't just take my word for it. Here's the official announcement:
Nintendo today revealed full details about how the new Wii U™ home console and its groundbreaking touch-screen Wii U GamePad controller can revolutionize not only video game play but also the way people find and watch TV and video content. The new HD system will offer entirely new ways for consumers to play games and enjoy their favorite programming when it launches in the Americas on Nov. 18. During the launch window, more than 50 games will be available for Wii U, which will be offered in two different colors and configurations. The Basic Set will be offered in white at a suggested retail price of $299.99, while the Deluxe Set, which includes higher storage capacity, additional accessories and the new Nintendo Land™ video game, will be offered in black at a suggested retail price of $349.99.
At a special Wii U preview event in New York, Nintendo also unveiled Nintendo TVii, an application that will let Wii U owners in the United States and Canada find, watch and engage with their favorite video entertainment in fun new ways. Using the GamePad controller, Nintendo TVii lets viewers seamlessly explore available video content from a variety of sources – including live TV, their TiVo DVR and video-on-demand services such as Netflix – all in one easy-to-use interface.
Additionally, Nintendo shared new information about dozens of games on the way for Wii U, including Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros.™ U, LEGO® City: Undercover, BAYONETTA 2, The Wonderful 101™, Capcom’s Monster Hunter™ 3 Ultimate and Activision’s Call of Duty®: Black Ops II. New Super Mario Bros. U offers unprecedented ways for friends and families to play together and explore Mario’s world using the GamePad. Nintendo Land, which will be available as a standalone game or included with the Wii U Deluxe Set, is a virtual theme park featuring a lineup of 12 playable attractions based on Nintendo’s greatest game worlds, including The Legend of Zelda™, Metroid™, Mario™, Animal Crossing™ and Donkey Kong™. As an added bonus for consumers, a Chase McCain LEGO minifigure will come as a special pre-order bonus for those who pre-order a copy of LEGO City: Undercover at participating retailers while supplies last. All of these games will instantly immerse players in a variety of new game-play experiences that are available only on Wii U.
“The wait is almost over — in just 66 days, Wii U will arrive with the strongest lineup of launch software in Nintendo history,” said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. “With the integrated second screen of the included GamePad and features that instantly enhance the way people play games, watch video and interact with each other, consumers will see how Wii U delivers a completely unique experience and a remarkable value right out of the box. The new system also creates extraordinary new possibilities for game developers, bound only by the limits of their imaginations.”
The Wii U Basic Set includes a white Wii U console with 8 GB of internal storage, one white GamePad controller, AC adapters for both the console and controller, a sensor bar and an HDMI® cable. In the Wii U Deluxe Set, components are black. This bundle includes all elements from the Basic Set, as well as the Nintendo Land game, increased console storage capacity of 32 GB, a console stand, GamePad charging cradle and a stand that allows users to place the GamePad vertically on a table. Consumers who purchase the Deluxe Set also will be enrolled in the Deluxe Digital Promotion, which lets Wii U owners receive points for each digital download and redeem those points for future downloadable content from the Nintendo eShop. The promotion is currently planned through 2014.
Both configurations offer a wealth of one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences, including an online gaming community called Miiverse™ and the new Nintendo TVii application. Using the touch screen on the GamePad controller, Nintendo TVii users will be able to browse programming from sources they subscribe to, including cable and satellite channels, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube and even their recorded TiVo shows – all from a single starting point.
The selection of third-party games on the way for Wii U will include some of the industry’s biggest names and most beloved franchises. Activision is set to bring several of its leading properties to Wii U during the launch window, including Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Skylanders Giants™ and TRANSFORMERS PRIME™. Other third-party games coming soon to Wii U include Assassin’s Creed® III, ZombiU™, Rayman Legends® and Just Dance® 4 from Ubisoft, Madden NFL 13 and Mass Effect™ 3 from Electronic Arts, Scribblenauts™ Unlimited and Batman: Arkham City™ Armored Edition from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two from Disney Interactive.
“The integrated second screen of the GamePad creates new possibilities for how games can be played, and further reflects the innovation Nintendo has poured into the Wii U,” said Eric Hirshberg, Activision Publishing’s CEO. “We’re excited for our fans to experience the biggest franchises, like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Skylanders Giants and Transformers Prime, in new ways made possible on Wii U.”
Below is a list of upcoming Wii U games that will be available on launch day or during the launch window*. (For information about third-party games, check with the individual publishers.)
Activision Publishing, Inc.
Call of Duty®: Black Ops II
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013
Rapala Pro Bass Fishing
Monster Hunter™ 3 Ultimate
Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game
Ben 10: Omniverse™
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Mass Effect™ 3
Madden NFL 13
EA SPORTS™ FIFA Soccer 13
Trine 2™: Director’s Cut
Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
Zumba® Fitness Core
NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.
TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT™ 2 Wii U Edition
TANK! TANK! TANK!™
New Super Mario Bros.™ U
NINJA GAIDEN™ 3: Razor’s Edge
LEGO® City: Undercover
Wii Fit™ U
Game & Wario™
The Wonderful 101™
Aliens: Colonial Marines™
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Nano Assault Neo
Tecmo Koei America Corporation
WARRIORS OROCHI® 3 Hyper
Wheel of Fortune®
Toki Tori 2
Assassin’s Creed® III
Just Dance® 4
Marvel Avengers™: Battle for Earth
Your Shape®: Fitness Evolved 2013
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Game Party Champions
Batman: Arkham City™ Armored Edition
* Launch window is defined as the period beginning Nov. 18, 2012, and ending March 31, 2013.