Wii to Launch in Japan *After* U.S. Debut

By Frank Ling, GN Senior Writer

Nintendo officially announced today that it would release the Wii on December 2nd in Japan. The price will be 25,000 yen, ($212) which will make it—by far—the least expensive of the next gen game consoles.

The announcement by Mario and company was preempted by a news story released by the New York Times earlier today. According to the Times (and later confirmed by Nintendo at their American conference), the U.S. release is scheduled for November 19th, and will be sold at an MSRP of $250, including a bundled game. This would mean the launch of the Wii would occur first in the United States instead of Japan—a direct reversal of marketing protocol in which game consoles originating from Japan have traditionally been launched from the homeland before they are released to the rest of the world.

Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo North America, stated," The Americas will receive the largest share of that total. The flow will be continuous and even to minimize out-of-stocks." Nintendo expects to ship 4 million consoles before year’s end.

As far as whom the Wii will appeal to goes, Fils-Aime towed the company line and repeated that the Wii will be for everyone, and not just for hard-core gamers. "It is literally that simple; appealing to current gamers as well as broadening that industry to new gamers — people who today don’t even consider themselves in the gaming industry."

Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of Mario and Zelda, said previously to MTV News, "We’re able to give players the freedom to do the types of actions that they want to do in video games without so many complicated buttons, thereby making it both intuitive for longtime game players and for people who have never played video games before."

The U.S. launch date of the Wii, November 19th, is strategically positioned to closely coincide with the launch date of Sony’s PS3 in America, which is scheduled for unveiling on November 17th. With the news of Sony’s PS3 missing its unit goals last week, the declaration by Nintendo to launch so soon after Sony’s release date can be seen as a direct challenge for market share during the holiday shopping season. Whether consumers will opt for the less expensive Wii rather than the more powerful and expensive PS3 remains to be seen.

The decision by Nintendo to steal thunder away from the PS3 launch will most likely have some company — rumors have circulated that Microsoft is planning a price reduction for their Xbox 360 in expectation of the PS3 launch and the usual heavy shopping period before Christmas.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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