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Wii U Launch Details Begin to Surface Following Japanese Event

Wii U console image

Nintendo’s big Wii U launch event kicked off in Japan early this morning. As you may know, the North American event kicks off in just a few hours, with Reggie Fils-Aime speaking about the console in New York City.

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Naturally, word travels fast about a new console, and we already know some new details about the Wii U from the launch event in Japan.

Mark your calendar for December 8; that’s the Japanese launch date.

Next, the Wii U comes in two flavors: Basic and Premium. The basic version retails for 26,250 yen (roughly $337), while the clearly superior Premium version goes for 31,500 (about $405).

Wii U Launch Information

Basic Wii U consoles are the white models shown in the image above, Premium versions are the slick-looking black ones. Basic units have 8GB Flash Memory, while Premium ones boast 32GB. Both versions split their 2GB system memory evenly between game data and system data.

Additionally, both Wii U bundles include the console, one GamePad controller, GamePad stylus, AC adapter cables (both console and controller), and HDMI cables. That’s right – Nintendo isn’t holding back on HDMI cables; everyone gets one.

For just $70 more, premium customers, will receive the following benefits:

-Black Wii U GamePad controller

-Wii U Stand

-GamePad controller stand

-GamePad controller charger

-Access to Nintendo Network “premium service” until December 2014

For those planning to buy additional accessories and games, brace yourself: the Wii U’s prices aren’t cheap.

Wii U GamePad Controllers

Additional GamePad controllers cost 13,440 yen – that’s in the $170 ballpark. The “Hardcore Controller” (see image below), which strongly resembles the Xbox 360 controller, retails for roughly $65.

Wii U Hardcore Controllers

The two confirmed launch titles – New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendoland – have separate price points. Nintendoland is 4,935 yen (about $63), while New Super Mario Bros. U retails for 5,985 yen (roughly $78).

Wii U Launch Games

In case you were starting to wonder, those are the actual figures and actual images from Nintendo. If the same pricing strategy is applied to the western market, I can easily see a lot of problems in Nintendo’s near future.

Even worse, if the Japanese launch is December 8, one would think the North American release must be on the same day – it definitely couldn’t be later, with the Christmas holiday coming just weeks later. Regardless, it seems almost mind-boggling that Nintendo would choose to skip past the holiday shopping season of mid-November, opting to release its new console in December.

On the other hand, many of these arguments have valid counter-points. First, none of the prices are confirmed for North America. One would think the MSRP wouldn’t change much, but no one really knows what Nintendo has planned. Next, $400 for a next-generation console is hardly “overpriced” – the premium Xbox 360 was actually more expensive when it came out, and the 60GB PS3 was $599 on launch day.

What really comes as a shock is the price of the GamePad controller; again, this could easily be counter-pointed due to the design of the Wii U. With the GamePad being absolutely central to the experience, it is fair that the price would be higher – after all, the controller is the real selling point, and what truly sets the Wii U apart from other consoles.

Still, $60 for Nintendoland? $70+ for New Super Mario Bros. U? Can I just go ahead and officially declare shenanigans?