Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wii U Price and Release Date Announced

There was a big load of Wii U news today since Nintendo set out to get as much hype going as possible and for most corners of the internet, they have probably succeeded in that.  Of course, in those corners of the internet, they probably could've announced that every box comes with a dead fish inside and nobody would have batted an eyelash, to it's likely not due to just what was said.  Still, best to just sort of throw down the collected information and see what we've got with it.  In that vein, rather than making use of Joystiq and/or Siliconera to start, why don't we just start with the base stuff and take it right from the source at Nintendo's website, yeah?  They updated it earlier to have the Wii U section set up proper (which means there's very little there besides a feature list and a few other tabs with not a whole lot of information.) and it's pretty much the easiest source to get from since if -they- screw it up then there is a definite problem.  So let's start then, shall we?  Get some of this out of the way since it is kind of 'the big thing' of today.

First, we'll take a look at the "What's in the Box" section of the Features list since it is literally just telling us everything we can expect from the console when it's purchased.  Nintendo's adopting a 360-like strategy in releasing both a barebones version and the version that they really expect everyone to buy which nobody really likes, but it will not backfire whatsoever.  Interesting about it, however, is that, instead of waiting for a bit in the console lifetime to throw out a different colored system for a few impulse buys, Nintendo's doing this right out of the gate in a rather unconventional way.  The base box contains a White Wii U unit and Gamepad Controller, whereas the one in the premium box is sporting the all-black look that took....what, years for Nintendo to do for the original Wii?  But I hope you're not necessarily tied to the colors of one set and the features of the other, because I really doubt there's going to be any real deviation right out of the gates.  I imagine it's a sort of branding all its own, which is a very Nintendo way of doing things for sure.

Now, besides a white console and gamepad, what's in the basic box?  Not....a whole lot else, really.  A stylus for the gamepad, a sensor bar, and the bare essentials - AC adapters for both console and pad and an HDMI cable.  I would also assume there's standard cables included, but it's hardly worth mentioning it seems.  Either that, or there is a good chance of some Wii adopters (who might not have an HD TV, strange a concept as it is) getting a rude awakening unless their Wii cables will work similarly with the Wii U.  It should be noted that the base Wii U model only has 8 Gigabytes of internal storage as well, whereas the premium box has 32.  Both seem like really arbitrary and strange numbers, but again, this is Nintendo we're talking about, so very little of it is going to make sense.  So, besides the 32 gigs, what's in the Premium Box?  Well, the mentioned already items from the basic box as well as the Nintendo Land game pack-in (think Wii Sports, but less sports), the Deluxe Digital Promotion which I will get into later, A cradle and stand for the Gamepad, and a Wii U console stand.  All accessories besides the game, but still it's 'added value' as they say.

The price is where the real strangeness starts to set in since the base box, which I remind only has the 8 gig system, a gamepad, sensor and cables, is $300.  No game, and games are going to be set at $60, as per the standard of this gen, so just sort of soak that one in for a moment.  The premium box, with all that stuff included at above, including a game (well, sort of) is going to be $350.  I'm pretty sure some people thought I was kidding when I said that that is the box Nintendo wants you to buy, but I'm pretty certain that that fact alone cements it since, at just bare, face-value, you're supposed to go "Well look at all that value!" and I'm sure that's how it'll be received.  I take it the other way and go "Well the 8 gig box is a piece of shit" because....well, it lacks the $50-60 game, console stands and cradles and all the other semi-expensive to expensive things.  Not to mention that buying the Premium box is the only way (apparently) to get in on that Deluxe Digital Promotion bit, which I should go ahead an explain now, I suppose.

In the list, the Promotion pop-up tab thingy says that it allows Wii U owners to "receive points for each digital download and redeem those points for future downloadable content" which is a lot of run-around and very very vague.  And it's more or less been one of those 'wildly different explanations from wildly different sources', with some of them saying that that's not even what that does.  Specifically, what that says is directly contrary to the thought that the service would offer a flat 10% discount on some digital games purchased.  New releases or full games, no VC/WiiWare/etc., but I have to defer to just what Nintendo's saying here; perhaps it's a Japan/US difference thing.  I guess we'll figure it out sometime between now and the day it releases.

That day being 66 days from now, of course.  The official North American release date is set for November 18th.  Because setting your brand new system out right before Black Friday when you're unlikely to have enough of them produced to satisfy the blood-thirsty demand is a brilliant idea, not to mention having your product go on sale right before the event that marks all sorts of -crazy- sales.  As in, way under MSRP because bundles sales.  But I guess Nintendo gets paid anyway so it doesn't really matter for them.  Still, the notion is a bit silly and I doubt that it's going to just be all sunshine and roses when it comes down to it, but that all remains to be seen.  We've still got two solid months for more information to come out, and in the meantime, there's not a whole lot else to do but think about how it'll be so great to play current gen ports and the same Nintendo games on it.  (I'm mostly kidding.  Mostly.)  More news about the release info, since there is quite a few 'big' things to mention still tomorrow when I am less tired.

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