By Greg Newbegin
At approximately 5pm AEST, Nintendo broadcast their first WiiU-focused Nintendo Direct on the Japanese Nintendo website. As expected, Nintendo Preseident Satoru Iwata held court, and went in to quite a lot of detail, which is surprising, considering Nintendo's usual approach...
Starting with something that gamers have been clamouring for, Iwata-san dropped some hardware specs. The Wii U will have 2gb main memory (a far cry more than current-gen systems) - 1gb dedicated for games and 1gb for the system. Wii U discs will hold up to 25gb of data, and the drive has a read speed 22.5mb/s (unsure why this much detail was provided regarding the disc drive, as nothing else was divulged). Iwata then continued to announce the dimensions, but my hands couldn't keep up with the slides... Lastly, it was announced that the Wii U only uses 75W of power, and 40W when not in use. This seems pretty efficient, if you ask me.
Moving on to other aspects of the new system, Iwata noted that Wii U will support the Wii Remote, Steering Wheel, Balance Board, and Wii games in a "Wii mode". While not mentioned, it can only be assumed that the Nunchuk is also supported (I'm pretty sure Iwata said that all accessories were supported, but my listening skills need some work).
Another important feature - Virtual Console and WiiWare games can be transferred. Exactly how this is performed was not announced, but I'm sure the info is forthcoming.
NintendoLand and New Super Mario Bros. Wii will both be available on release - neither as pack-in games, or so it seems. Both games will be available in retail and download.
Next up, some pricing was announced:
- Wii U pro controller - 5040yen
- Wii Remote Plus - 3800yen, in multiple colours (white, black, red, blue, pink)
- Nunchuk - 1800yen (white, black, red)
- Wii U stand -315yen
- GamePad Charging stand + playstand set - 1890yen
- Gamepad - 13440yen (black, white... also, ouch)
Iwata then went on to finally announce the SKUs - yes, multiple. At release, there will be two versions available, a Basic Set, and a Premium Set. Both units will ship with a Wii U, one Gamepad, an AC adapter, and an HDMI cable.
The Basic Set will ship in white, and come with 8GB flash storage... It will be priced at 26250yen (for reference, the original Wii was priced at 25000yen).
The Premium Set is a much sexier black, has 32gb flash, and comes with the stands priced above. It will be priced at 31500yen. Interestingly, it was announced that the Premium Set also comes with a "Nintendo Network Premium" account, valid until December 2014 (what this involves was lost to me, or not announced, but it will provide the owner with a 10% discount off games in the Nintendo eShop).
Finally - and most importantly - the Japanese release date was announced to be December 8, 2012.
More information tonight from 12pm AEST (same or different? Who knows - this time it will be presented by Reggie).
As a final note - it's probably important to hold off on converting Japanese yen into Australian dollars. The result is never a reflection of the final price (consider that the original Wii was released in Japan at 25000yen, and Australia at $400).