Nintendo Confirms Nov.19, $250 Wii U.S. Launch
The console will be bundled with a copy of Wii Sports, which includes a multitude of different sports mini-games, including tennis, baseball, and golf, in one package.
The report by the Times' Seth Schiesel, which appeared online just before an official Nintendo of Japan press conference, also noted: "Nintendo intends to charge $50 for its Wii games, $10 less than the standard price for Xbox 360 titles and the same price generally charged for GameCube games."
In addition, it was revealed that around 30 classic games will be available for download from the Virtual Console service when the Wii is released, including "ones from the 'Zelda,' 'Mario' and 'Donkey Kong' franchises." Apparently, these downloadable titles will cost about $5 to $10 each, roughly in parity with those games offered via Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service.
At today's US press conference, Nintendo of America supplied further launch details, including launch title specifics. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Excite Truck and the bundled Wii Sports will represent the first party launch lineup, with the GameCube version of Twilight Princess pushed back until December.
A total of 30 Wii games are expected to be released by the end of the year, with roughly half of those available at launch at an MSRP of $49.99, with third party launch titles to include Call of Duty 3, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Need for Speed: Carbon, Madden 07, Elebits, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, Rayman: Raving Rabbids, and Splinter Cell: Double Agent.
As previously mentioned in the New York Times report, by the end of the year it's expected that 30 Virtual Console games will be available from both first and third party developers, and will be priced according to generation: 500 Wii Points for 8-bit NES games, 800 Points for 16-bit SNES titles, and 1,000 Points for Nintendo 64 games.
Points can be purchased for the Console at retail at $20 per 2,000 Points. A 'classic controller,' more akin to that of the SNES, will be released specifically for these retro games.
Twelve 'media channels' are expected to accompany the launch as well, including a photo channel, allowing players to browse digital photos stored on SD cards. Other channels include news and weather, updated continually through the console's online service, as well as an internet channel, giving full web browsing access via the Opera web browser, which will be available at an additional cost, and will include full Flash support.
Additionally, a 'Mii' channel will allow Wii users to create personalized 3D avatars that can populate your own, as well as your friends' consoles, and can be used as in-game avatars for certain software titles like Wii Sports.
Gamasutra will update this story with further specifics as they become available.
[UPDATE 3 - 8.00am PST: Official confirmation of launch details has been added from today's Nintendo of America press conference.]