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Nintendo’s Official Wii Price and Release Date Announcement

Today we finally got official word from Nintendo on the release date, price and other details on the Wii’s launch. First, November 19 is the day that Wii will be available in the Americas for the price of $250. That’s just two days after the North American launch of PlayStation 3, which is retailing for $500 and $600. Apparently, Nintendo is not worried about the Wii being overshadowed by the PS3, maybe due to the recently announced lack of PS3 supplies (only 2 million by the end of 2006).

Nintendo’s remarks came from New York, where Reggie spoke in concert with Japanese officials and a day before a press event in London. “Wii reinvents games for the devoted player,” President Reggie Fils-Aime said. “But more importantly, Wii breaks the wall separating players from non-players by delivering the best game experiences for the most affordable price. We believe the next leap is games for the masses – young and old, gamer or non, alone, with a friend or with the whole family.”

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The Wii will include one wireless “Wii-mote”, one Nunchuk controller and five different Wii Sports games on one disc (Baseball, Tennis, Bowling, Boxing and Golf). Between launch day and the end of the year, Wii will see the release of 30 software titles. Some top Nintendo launch titles include Wii Sports, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Excite Truck. While publishers are free to set their own prices for games, first-party Nintendo titles will have an MSRP of $49.99. Third parties have previously announced Red Steel, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Elebits, Call of Duty 3 and several EA games.

Every Wii console will include another distinctive feature: a series of on-screen “channels” that make up the Wii Channel Menu, which makes the console approachable and customizable for everyone, from the most avid gamer to people who have never played before. The Wii Channel Menu is the starting point for all of the console’s functions. The “channels” offer a gateway to a rich variety of entertainment options. When connected to a TV, the Wii Channel Menu offers a simple interface letting users pick games to play, get news or weather, upload and send photos or even create playable caricatures of themselves to use in actual games.