Nintendo’s Wii U Priced, Dated, Looking Good!

Wii U Finally Gets a Date, and She’s Purdy!

It’s been a long time coming, but Nintendo finally got around to sharing the price, launch date and features of their new Wii U system. Starting today, you can preorder the console in one of two flavors, at Gamestop. Each of these includes the console and the Wii U Gamepad, hereinafter simply, “WiiPad” as far as the world cares. The system will be available for pickup on November 18th (gosh, just like all the rumors said!), though I sure wish console makers would realize that a Friday night or Saturday morning launch date would be for the best so all us gaming nerds could have the entire weekend to play with the thing, and though the exact day-one launch lineup for Wii U has yet-to-be confirmed, the launch “window,” which Nintendo defined as being November 18th to March 31st, 2013, will visit more than 50 games on a weary and broke public. Still, though, they kept the price where they needed to: $299 for the basic unit, and $349 for the premium, placing Wii U firmly within the price ranges of Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. More details follow after the break!

Nintendo Wii U BasicFor the base price of $299, eager gamers will get a white Wii U console and Wiipad with 8GB of built-in flash storage, an SD card slot capable of expanding the system’s storage by an extra 32GB. The system will also include power adapters both for the Wii U and the tablet controller, a sensor bar, and to everyone’s surprise–it’ll include an HDMI cable to boot.

The Wii U Premium edition will come in a drool-worthy glossy black finish, include everything the Basic edition has but with a few extras, including 32GB of flash storage, a charging cradle for the Wii U gamepad (oops–I meant WiiPad), a copy of Nintendo Land, a stand for the Wii U console itself, and a stand that allows the Wiipad to be placed vertically on a table. I presume the vertical stand is so you can do video chat. Lastly, the premium Wii U system will also enroll owners in Nintendo’s “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.” This sounds similar to their current “Club Nintendo,” which lets users collect coins by registering their purchases, taking surveys about Nintendo games, hardware, etc, and later redeem those coins for either a “download of the month” game or some other trinket. Hopefully we’ll see some greater flexibility on that front.

For those freaking out about the 8-32GB integrated storage, don’t. This was a smart move on Nintendo’s part, and respects gamers tremendously. How? First, it’s clear that this system includes some fairly expensive components, most notably in the controller. In Japan, the controller, sold alone, is half the cost of a complete system. Imagine if a PS3 or 360 controller cost you between $100-150 (or at launch, $150-300!) and you can see the problem. Their money was spent on the system; adding a huge quantity of storage would have only made it more expensive for gamers. Instead what they’ve done is make it easy for us to expand storage according to our own needs, with either SD cards (32GB for sure, but I’ve got an email out to Nintendo asking for clarification since the press materials aren’t clear) or with any USB hard drive we choose. That’s right: Wii U will let you use any hard drive size you want. On stage this morning, Reggie Fils-Amie stated that if we want to, we can plug-in a 3TB USB hard drive and it’ll work just fine.

More news to come, and commentary alongside it later in the day. For now, check out this trailer for upcoming Wii U games!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/NPjhY0cFOKw[/youtube]

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