Nintendo has announced at an event in New York today that the Wii U will launch in the US on Sunday, November 18, with European consumers having to wait until Friday, November 30. The basic set will be sold for $299 in the US, while a deluxe configuration will be sold for $349.
The Basic SKU will offer a white, 8GB Wii U console, a GamePad, AC adapters, a sensor bar, and an HDMI Cable, while the Deluxe SKU has everything that Basic has but it's in a black color and it bumps up the memory to 32GB. It also comes with charging cradles and a copy of Nintendoland. Moreover, to push digital, Nintendo is including a Deluxe Digital Promotion in the higher-end SKU. This will earn gamers some rebates for downloadable Wii U titles in the eShop as they make purchases.
Nintendo's Bill Trinen noted that Nintendo is expanding Nintendo Land with new additions: Metroid Blast, and Pikmin Adventure.
Importantly, Nintendo introduced a major entertainment feature called Nintendo TVii. It shows Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus and TiVo DVR, all controlled on the GamePad. Zach Fountain, director of network business at NoA, was the man who led the TV project. Users will get a personalized program guide, which shows what's on DVR, live TV channels, Netflix, etc. It's all in one guide, and you can start a program directly from the GamePad, and then you can share info with friends. There's also a Mii in the upper left hand corner for a personalized experience for everyone in the household.
The view on the GamePad during live TV is also much different than what's on the TV itself. This offers viewers all sorts of extra information, and for sports lovers, plenty of stats to scroll through. Nintendo TVii is included with every Wii U at no additional fee. "It's always been our goal to maximize value with every hardware purchase," Reggie Fils-Aime stated.
After the TVii presentation, Nintendo dived into the games. Bayonetta 2 will be a Wii U exclusive published by Nintendo, developed by Platinum Games, and there's also a new collaboration between Atsushi Inabe and Hideki Kamiya called The Wonderful 101. Also, Capcom is bringing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate to Wii U and 3DS next year, and gamers can progress simultaneously between the platforms.
Next up, Activision Publshing CEO Eric Hirshberg took the stage to show off what Activision has planned for Wii U, which includes Skylanders Giants, Wipeout 3 (based on TV show), 007 Legends, Transformers Prime - The Game, and most importantly of all Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
"We've never been able to deliver this level of realism on a Nintendo platform," said Hirshberg while demoing multiplayer, which makes use of the GamePad second screen to "really enhance the gameplay experience." The GamePad turns a local splitscreen into two separate full screen experiences. It can be competitive or cooperative. The game can be played directly from the GamePad without using the TV at all, if desired.
Hirshberg said you "really are getting the full CoD experience this November on Wii U."
Following the CoD demo, Reggie came back to note that Nintendo isn't ready to reveal the exact release dates of its games, so the company isn't providing an exact list of launch day titles yet. That said, Nintendo went through numerous slides to show how many titles they have coming between launch and next March.
Reggie closed out the conference by commenting that "Wii U will change the way you play games and how you watch television, and the agent of that change is the Wii U GamePad; it's the next advance in gaming."
We'll have a full interview with Reggie Fils-Aime coming tomorrow, in addition to more reaction, so please stay tuned!