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Nintendo Announces North American Launch Date for Wii: November 19, 2006

Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo® Wii™ (pronounced "wee"). Its name might still raise a few eyebrows, but there is no doubt that this system is attracting a lot of interest. It's no wonder either, with the Xbox 360 having a poor library of launch titles and little more to offer after nearly a year and the PS3 plagued with rumors of manufacturing issues, limited release availability and a hefty price tag. Additionally, the Wii has come out with something completely different in the way of interacting with the games, a motion tracking controller system unlike anything available on current consoles.

Now with an official North American launch date announced for November 19, 2006, the excitement around this console is at it's peak and Nintendo finds itself in the enviable position to be a real contender for the 2006 “must have” holiday gift.

It is questionable, however, that Nintendo would choose to release their system only days after the announced PS3 launch date, but there could be a clever strategy in that. While the PS3 is set for a very limited launch due to reported manufacturing issues, the Wii is to be released in 25,000 retail points across the Americas. So when a shopper can't find the PS3 they are seeking, that more readily available and reasonable priced Wii might come home instead.

One of the biggest attractions to the Wii, aside from the unique control scheme, is in its price. Nintendo had promised early on that the system would not exceed $250 US and they delivered. The system will retail for $249.99 US ($279.99 CDN) and include a game, A/V connector, one nunchuk controller, and one remote sensor.

A more traditional controller will be available for purchase as well for use with classic games (more below) and the Wii will also include ports for your old GameCube controllers. Other peripherals include the return of the light gun.

Game Library

There should be 30 Wii titles available for the holiday season with 15 at launch. Among the launch titles will be the much anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. By late 2006/early 2007 we expect to see highly anticipated titles like Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime: Corruption. But don't look only at Nintendo to provide the Wii with titles, they have a solid backing by 3rd party developers with titles like Call of Duty 3, Madden NFL 07, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, Splinter Cell: Double Agent and Far Cry: Vengeance. Hopefully the Wii can maintain that support and not duplicate what happened with the GameCube.

However, the gaming options are not restricted to your Wii or GameCube titles. A classic game library will be made available online via the Virtual Console™. Rumour also indicates that you'll not only Nintendo titles in the library, but classic Sega Genesis and NEC TurboGRAFX games may also be available. Classic titles can be purchased and downloaded with “Wii Points”, a proprietary monetary system that will work much like Xbox's “Microsoft Points.” The games will run between 500 and 1000 points and Nintendo will sell 2000 points for $20 US. The Wii is also backwards compatible with your entire GameCube, preserving your previous investment without the need for two consoles in your entertainment unit.

 

Multimedia

Although Nintendo has often taking the stance that they are a gaming only company, the have relaxed that outlook somewhat with the Wii. The unit will offer a variety of entertainment, information and communication options called “Wii Channels.” Channels include weather forecasts, news, messaging (with other Wii owners) and the Mii Channel, which lets you create your own digital avatar, and save it to your remote control unit, allowing you to bring it to other Wii consoles for inclusion in games. You will also have web surfing ability via network connection and purchase of the Opera browser via your Wii points.

Nintendo has also included photo viewing ability via SD memory card, however, it has been confirmed that DVD playback is not available. Wireless capabilities may not be available immediately upon launch and no titles yet support the connectivity feature between your Wii and Nintendo DS.

Out of the Box Playable

The Wii will be out of the box playable, including a game, Wii Sports, 1 nunchuk controller, 1 sensor controller and a composite A/V cable (component cable sold separately).

You also shouldn't have much issue finding a spot to place your Wii, as according the official Nintendo Wii website, the Wii's dimensions are, "about 8.5 inches long, 6 inches wide and less than 2 inches thick (roughly the size of 3 DVD cases stacked on top of each other)." Additionally the design is a clean, simple and sexy look with white chassis and an illuminated disc input slot. You can also choose to mount your Wii vertically or horizontally, as has since become the standard thanks to the PS2.

It should be interesting to see if the Wii's hype translates into sales and how the public takes to the new motion controller style of game play. Regardless, November 19, 2006 is a date to mark on your calendar.

 

Experience a new way to play. Wii™ from Nintendo®.

 

 


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