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Wii U launches November 18 in U.S. at $300, $350 price points
Nintendo of America is kicking off its next generation of consoles on November 18 in the U.S. with the launch of the Wii U "Basic" and "Deluxe" variations, the company announced at a Thursday press event in New York City.
The Basic offering will be $300 -- a $50 increase from the 2006 launch price of the original Wii -- and come with a GamePad and 8 GB of storage space.
Wii U's Deluxe model will sell for $350, and include the game collection Nintendo Land, 32 GB of storage and a discount that gives shoppers a "Deluxe Digital" 10 percent discount on certain downloadable titles until 2014.
Europe will receive the same Basic and Deluxe sets on November 30, though pricing will be left to distributors to decide. The Wii U hits Japan on December 8 at ¥26,250 ($339) for the Basic set, and ¥31,500 ($407) for a Deluxe set that doesn't come bundled with Nintendo Land.
None of the sets includes the Wii U-compatible remote and "nunchuck" controllers that were popularized by the original Wii. Nintendo said it didn't want to require people to buy something that they already own, although the company will sell Wii U-branded remotes, nunchucks and accessories.
Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime also announced what he called "probably the most different, non-gaming initiative Nintendo has ever introduced" -- TVii.
"We saw the Wii become the singular device most people used to connect their TV to the internet... We had to wait for the right technology to come along, and it has with Wii U," Fils-Aime said.
TVii is an entertainment pillar for Wii U that offers TV, movies, and sports programming. A demo video for TVii showed popular streaming services from Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video, selectable from the Wii U's touch pad.
TVii is tied to users' profiles and friends, and offers a "personalized program guide" that also works with users' DVR and TV channels. It has an icon-based home page that users can personalize, as well as internet-based recommendations.
Nintendo highlighted a number of games, including first-party titles Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U.
The company also touted third-party developer support, announcing Capcom's Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS next March, and Activision's Call of Duty Black Ops 2 this November.
One of the more surprising Wii U game announcements was Platinum Games' Bayonetta 2 -- a Wii U exclusive published by Nintendo. The original Bayonetta, also developed by Platinum, was an M-rated multiplatform game published by Sega for only PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Nintendo made sure to highlight support from Activision, a key partner for the console maker. Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg took the stage, emphasizing that the Wii U is "the most capable Nintendo platform ever, particularly for the types of games we like to make."
Activision's Wii U lineup includes Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Skylanders Giants, 007 Legends, Wipeout 3, and Transformers.
[Update:Polygon reports that most titles on Wii U will have a suggested retail price of $59.99. That's a $10 increase from the typical suggested price of games on the original Wii, bringing Wii U games more in line with the pricing structure seen on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.]
In all, Fils-Aime called the Wii U launch library the "the strongest for any home console in history." Nintendo of America and third-party publishers plan to release more than 50 games for the system between this November and March 2013.