Wii Release Date and Price Announced

The New York Times broke the news to North Americans early this morning, but launch details for the Nintendo Wii have been pouring out from around the world since NCL’s press conference in Japan last night and are still coming in from Nintendo of America’s morning press conference here in New York City.

Wii will be released on Sunday November 19th and will retail for $250. The console package will include one Wii console, one Wii remote, one nunchuck controller attachment, a sensor bar, AC adapter, an audio/video cable, a console stand and two batteries to power the remote. Wii will also come with a copy of Nintendo’s Wii Sports, a compilation of simple sports titles designed to show off the capabilities of the “Wiimote”. This is the first pack-in title to ship with a Nintendo console since Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo.

Nintendo has also announced a plethora of information regarding their online strategy and download services. The Virtual Console, now called Wii Channels, will let users download classic software from Nintendo’s previous console, will offer NES titles for 500 Wii Points ($5USD), SNES titles for 800 Wii points, and N64 titles for 1000 Wii points. Titles available at launch will include The Legend of Zelda (NES), Super Mario World (SNES), and Mario 64 (N64). Wii’s other online features include Wii Weather, Wii News, Wii Message Boards for sending messages to PC users and cellphones, and an Opera web browser that will be purchased separately. Nintendo also unveiled the Mii Channel, where players will design their own online profile and avatars which can then be stored on that user’s Wiimote.

Nintendo has promised 4 million units will ship by December 31st, 2006 and the system will launch with approximately 15 software titles. First party software will retail for $49.99 while third party titles will be priced by their publishers. Stay tuned for more Wii details throughout the day.

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