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The Wii can be used to view the local weather view Connect24
It's here: the Nintendo Wii is a mere 10 weeks away... in Japan

As expected, Nintendo today lifted the embargo on the official pricing and launch date for the Nintendo Wii.  Nintendo President Saturo Iwata held a press event yesterday in Japan to reveal the final details of the Nintendo Wii that hadn't been announced during the E3 expo.  In Japan the console will sell for 25,000 Yen ($212 USD) and will be available on December 2, 2006.

Virtual Console games, titles that are downloaded rather than purchased on disc, will cost under $10 as originally stated by Iwata in a June 2006 press conference.  Iwata specifically claimed during the conference that Virtual Console games the for the Nintendo 64 will be priced at approximately 1000 Yen ($8.50 USD) while Nintendo and Super Nintendo games will be less than 800 Yen ($6.80 USD).  As many as 60 of these "classic" Virtual Console titles will be available at launch.  Like the Microsoft XBOX Live marketplace, "credits" can be purchased for use towards new VC games.

However, users aren't just going to buy the Nintendo Wii to just play Virtual Console games. Pricing for games in the US will be between $40 and $57 per new title.  Iwata promises that at least 25 Wii titles will be available by the end of the year, including new Mario and Zelda series games that were very thoroughly showcased during the E3 convention.  A "Wii Sport" package will be bundled together (but not included with the console), including a Tennis game to demonstrate the Wii nunchaku controller.

In addition to the launch info, Iwata also announced some new details about the functionality of Wii.  Specifically, the company plans to use Wii Connect24 to not just browse the internet, but also to bring some TV functionality to its users.

Nintendo has made several announcements earlier this year on the joint development that company has done with the Opera community, including the browser in the DS library and publically announcing that the Wii would use Opera for web functionality

Nintendo Japan has released the official price and launch announcement on its website, and is available here (English).  One remote (controller + nunchaku) are included with the base console, and additional remotes can be purchased for approximately $40 USD.

The equivalent $212 price tag for the US is essentially in line with what analysts and Nintendo representatives have been saying since May of this yearMCV Magazine reported just a few days ago that the Wii would launch for the equivalent of $280 in the EU on November 24, 2006, but did not mention a US launch date or price.  A conference in New York City tomorrow will reveal the final US launch date and pricing.

Sony has announced that the Playstation 3 will launch in the US on November 17, 2006.  The Microsoft camp is also expected to announce a new gizmo this holiday season -- the XBOX 360 external HD DVD player. Two versions of the Playstation 3 will launch in Japan on November 11, 2006 for the equivalent of $499 and $599. 

During the E3 conference in Los Angeles, Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aime claimed that the system would sell more than four million Wii consoles by year's end.  Sony recently released an announcement claiming that only 500,000 Playstation 3 consoles would ship worldwide at launch.

More details in Japanese are available at Wii.com, but the embargo for the US and European details does not lift until 9AM EST on September 14, 2006. 




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