The next generation is officially here! While the argument of whether Nintendo's truly ushering in the next gen or finally catching up with the old one will be a point of debate for a while, no one can argue that this current generation is on its way out -- and that Nintendo will be the first one out of the gate.
In a press conference held just a little over an hour ago, Reggie Fils-Aime took center stage and told everyone what we've been waiting to hear since E3: the new console's price point and release date.
Everyone was a little, er, surprised.
The Wii U will be released in North America on Sunday, November 18 (followed by European release on November 30.) Taking a page from the Microsoft's and Sony's playbook, Nintendo is releasing two versions: a Basic version for $299.99 and a Deluxe version for $349.99.
Wii U Basic will net you a white console touting 8GB of drive space and the Wii U Gamepad, while the Deluxe version will come in sleek black, 32GB of space, the Wii U Gamepad, and launch title NintendoLand.
This was a small sticker shock for Nintendo fans, most of whom weren't expecting Nintendo to break the $300 psychological barrier, but it's nowhere near as jarring as Sony's now infamous PS3 launch pricing.
While not completely unexpected (the Wii launched at $250, and the Wii U is more advanced), Nintendo's major success with the Wii in its initial years was not due to its exciting title selection, but rather due to its price accessibility coupled with a fun game that maximized motion control potential (Wii Sports) -- so it is a little surprising they stepped slightly outside of that market. Of course, this initial strategy made for a humongous burst in initial sales to casual gamers, but the flip side is that they often would never purchase a game again -- hence Nintendo's steep profit decline in the latter half of this generation.
We'll see where the money talks this time around when the console is release in a few months. More Wii U news incoming...