Wii further exposed stateside
As the New York Times and a couple of other American dailies correctly predicted, the Wii console will indeed be released stateside on November 19th, and will cost 250 USD. That's about 130 GBP or just shy of 200 Euros, for those of continental extraction.
The 19th is of course only two days after Sony are expected to launch the PlayStation 3, so what a week that looks likely to be for North American gamers. It will also be very interesting to see how the rival next-gen systems take-on each other, with the Wii's low pricing looking likely to make Sony's offering appear even more pricey in comparison.
Whilst the PS3 is expected to have two million systems to cover North American and Japanese launches, Reggie Fils-Aime revealed at today's New York conference that Ninty hope to have four million systems shipped by the end of the year. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and ExciteTruck were mooted for the console's American debut, and will be part of 15 launch titles in the region.
Whilst full titles for the Wii are expected to cost in the region of 50 USD, downloadable 'classics' will come in much cheaper. NES titles will cost 500 'Wii points', SNES 800 points and N64 1000 points. We're told that 500 points will be 5 USD. Cards charged with points will be sold stateside in denominations of 20 USD. Nintendo are also promising that 530 GameCube games will be backwards-compatible.
A couple of new features, including internet-like channels covering news, weather and the like were mooted at the conference today. We were also introduced to 'Mii', a personal avatar which can be transferred to the Wiimote and carried around. A large chat element is promised, with message boards encompassing PC and mobile users, too, whilst internet access will be free via an included Opera web browser (that will, however, have to be paid for).
The event concluded with game demonstrations, and more talk of the ambitious WiiConnect24 service, which will see the console downloading new content and sharing data even when switched-off. News on the European debut is promised for tomorrow lunchtime. More then, then.