Los Angeles gamers had to get up fairly early to get the details straight from Nintendo about the upcoming Wii U. The Wii U has made the trip to Southern California already, having been playable at both the E3 Expo and Comic Con, for Nintendo Club members. The expectations are high for the new system and a slew of action and party games including; Nintendoland, New Super Mario Bros. U, Zombie U and a re-imagined Batman port. While rumors have been circulating about a release date around Thanksgiving and multiple configurations priced between $250 and $350, not much has been confirmed until now.
Nintendo of America president and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime finally made it official, this morning and announced the release date of the Wii U for Sunday, November 18, 2012. Two different configurations will be available for Nintendo’s new console. A basic, white Wii U set with 8GB of internal memory will be available for $299 and a black deluxe set which includes Nintendoland and a GamePad charger will be available for $349. If there wasn’t enough reason to want the deluxe edition, Nintendo also showed a new Metroid minigame as part of the Nintendoland suite.
The Wii U system will be available in black or white and is approximately 1.8 inches high, 10.5 inches deep and 6.8 inches long. The system will include the new Wii U GamePad which incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio LCD touch screen, as well as traditional button controls and two analog sticks. Inputs include a Control Pad, dual analog sticks, triggers and bumpers, a power button, HOME button, and TV control button. The GamePad also includes motion control, a front-facing camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, rumble features, a sensor bar, an included stylus and support for Near Field Communication functionality. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The Wii U console is capable of supporting up to four Wii Remote controllers or Wii U Pro Controllers, and Wii accessories such as the Nunchuk, Classic Controller and Wii Balance Board two Wii U GamePad controllers in addition two GamePads, although none of the games shown yet support multiple GamePads. The new system also features updated graphics with a multicore AMD Radeon based GPU and supports up to 1080p resolution and will have an HDMI output in addition to the standard cables.
The Wii U comes with either 8 or 32 Gigabytes of internal flash memory. It also supports SD memory cards and external USB storage. Those looking for DVD or Blu-ray support will have to look elsewhere as the system will only read Wii U and Wii optical discs. Nintendo promises that nearly all Wii software and accessories can be used with Wii U. The Wii U will connect to the Internet via wireless through 802.11b/g/n connections. The console will also feature four USB 2.0 connectors with two in the front and two in the rear that will support Wii LAN Adapters.
Demand is expected to be fairly high for the new Nintendo console. Rumors on message boards indicate that video game specialty retailer GameStop will start taking pre-orders on the system today at opening. Console pre-orders at GameStop typically require a $50 minimum deposit or an equivalent amount of trade-ins. It is worth noting however, that at the time of this article, GameStop does not have information about the new system on their website.
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