Wii U Gets Japanese Launch Date, $340 Price [Update: U.S. In November]

Nintendo’s Wii U gaming system will launch in its home Japanese market on December 8th and will cost 26,250 Yen (around $340) for the entry level console and 31,500 Yen (around $400) for the premium edition. Nintendo revealed its news about the long-anticipated machine in a press release this morning, and firmer details about the Wii U’s U.S. launch are due later today.

The Wii U is Nintendo’s follow-up games system to its highly successful Wii gaming device, credited with bringing the motion-sensing revolution to console gaming via its sensor-packed game controls that gamers waved in front of an infra-red sensor.

The Japanese company has seen financial misses recently, blamed on slumping sales of the original Wii–now a very outdated device, especially in the era of smartphone and tablet gaming–with revenues for the quarter ending in June down by nearly 10% on the previous year’s figure. The Wii U ups the company’s gaming stakes by including a tablet-like device in the game controls, ostensibly for added fun and more sophisticated gaming…but the move is controversial due to the controller’s expense.

In news that’s definitely not fun for Nintendo, Microsoft’s rival next-gen console the Xbox 720 is getting a lot of press right now for rumored “Avatar-like” immersive gaming. Sony’s rumored PS4 is now said to be due next holiday season, in 2013.

Update: The Wii U console will be hitting stores in the U.S. on November 18th for $300 and $350 for basic and high-level models. It arrives in Europe just a little later on November 30th.

See our main Fast Feed page for more news as it happens.KE