Here's everything you need to know about when the Nintendo Wii U will launch, how much you'll need to pay, and what games are slated for the first wave.
After news of the Nintendo Wii U Japanese release date leaked onto Twitter Wednesday night, there was some fear that the console wouldn't arrive until early next year. But Nintendo of America bossman Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage during the company's Wii U Preview press event and calmed those fears on Thursday, announcing that the Wii U console will launch here in North America on November 18, conveniently just days before early risers go nuts with their credit cards on Black Friday.
As seen above, Nintendo's new console will arrive in two flavors: an 8 GB Basic Set in white for $299.99 USD, and a 32 GB Deluxe Set in black for $349.99 USD. The Basic Set will contain the Wii U console, the Wii U GamePad, an AC adapter for each, an HDMI cable, and a Wii U sensor bar. The Deluxe Set throws in an extra charging cradle and stand, and a copy of the company's 1st-party exclusive, "Nintendo Land."
Nintendo said on Thursday that consumers who purchase the Deluxe Set also will be enrolled in the Deluxe Digital Promotion, which lets Wii U owners receive points for each digital download and redeem those points for future downloadable content from the Nintendo eShop. The promotion is currently planned through 2014. Wii U-banded Wii Remotes and Nunchuck controllers will also be sold although your old set will work just fine with the new console, Nintendo added.
Outside the typical gaming hoopla, the big reveal during Thursday's event was Nintendo TVii which essentially combines entertainment services like Hulu Plus and Netflix with your current cable subscription. The Nintendo tablet – or tablet-like controller – will serve as a TV portal, and packs an IR remote so you can change the channel of your cable operator's set-top box. Even more, the controller will present additional information about the movie or TV episode that's currently playing on the primary HDTV.
Nintendo's TV service is powered by i.TV which allows users to discover, watch and engage on the iOS and Android platforms via a TV guide app. "Nintendo TVii combines show discovery, remote control, and social interaction, all in one experience. There’s nothing like it on the market," said i.TV CEO, Brad Pelo. "We are thrilled that Nintendo shares our vision for the future of television and is making it a reality with Nintendo TVii on Wii U."
As seen here, the Wii TVii interface on the tablet is divided into five sections: your favorites, TV shows, movies, sports-specific entertainment, and a general content search.
Finding your favorite episode -- whether it's on the local cable TV channel or through an online service -- is as easy as flicking through your standard tablet or smartphone.
As seen here, you can search by network, spanning all your favorite services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, your local cable company and more.
This image shows the user pulling up his favorite TV show and discovering information -- thanks to i.TV -- such as the episode list, cast, and additional details provided by IMDb and Wikipedia. This info can be displayed while the TV episode is currently playing on the primary HDTV.
Here's a dial-mode for accessing content rather than using the Modern UI-like interface.
This was rather interesting: you can find out what happens in a TV episode or movie when joining after it starts at any time. Naturally you can restart from the beginning, but this feature will provide highlights detailing what's going on now, and what has happened thus far in descriptive moments.
Sports fanatics should love this: Wii TVii will provide extra information about a football game or any other sport while it's progressing live on the primary HDTV. All in all, Nintendo offers an interesting, interactive entertainment package that packs plenty of social features, making sharing between family members and friends easy and fun.
On the gaming front, Nintendo previewed the Metro portion of Nintendo Land, a virtual theme park featuring a lineup of 12 playable attractions based on Nintendo's greatest game worlds, including The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Animal Crossing and Donkey Kong. Also on display was LEGO City: Undercover, The Wonderful 101 and Super Mario Bros. U. Various other 3rd-party titles made an appearance including Bayonetta 2 and a glimpse of Capcom's Monster Hunter 3.
Acitivision Publishing also took the stage at the Nintendo press conference, and gave a demonstration of Call of Duty: BlackOps II. With all the talk about how this new console seemingly under performs on a graphical level when compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, it seems that many critics are missing the Wii U's biggest feature: the ability to pump out a completely different second screen to the tablet. Can any current console dish out two separate screens simultaneously? No.
"The integrated second screen of the GamePad creates new possibilities for how games can be played, and further reflects the innovation Nintendo has poured into the Wii U," said Eric Hirshberg, Activision Publishing’s CEO. "We’re excited for our fans to experience the biggest franchises, like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Skylanders Giants and Transformers Prime, in new ways made possible on Wii U."
With the Black Ops II demo, Activision made it clear just how well this console will perform when rendering two separate 1st-person perspectives. The console will also play host to a number of other (non-Activision) core games during the first wave (November 18 to March 31) including Assassin's Creed III, Mass Effect 3, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Darksiders II and many more titles.
"The wait is almost over — in just 66 days, Wii U will arrive with the strongest lineup of launch software in Nintendo history," said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. "With the integrated second screen of the included GamePad and features that instantly enhance the way people play games, watch video and interact with each other, consumers will see how Wii U delivers a completely unique experience and a remarkable value right out of the box. The new system also creates extraordinary new possibilities for game developers, bound only by the limits of their imaginations."
With that, here's the list of first-wave titles:
Activision Publishing, Inc.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013
Rapala Pro Bass Fishing
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game
Ben 10: Omniverse
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Mass Effect 3
Madden NFL 13
EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer 13
Trine 2: Director’s Cut
Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
Zumba Fitness Core
NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.
TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2 Wii U Edition
TANK! TANK! TANK!
New Super Mario Bros. U
NINJA GAIDEN 3: Razor’s Edge
LEGO City: Undercover
Wii Fit U
Game & Wario
The Wonderful 101
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Nano Assault Neo
Tecmo Koei America Corporation
WARRIORS OROCHI 3 Hyper
Wheel of Fortune
Toki Tori 2
Assassin’s Creed III
Just Dance 4
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Game Party Champions
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition