Thursday, September 14, 2006

Open Mouth, Insert Wii

Just when I say there's nothing interesting going on, something interesting happens.

Nintendo officially revealed details about the Wii's U.S. launch. The console will be released Sunday, November 19, just two days after that of the PlayStation 3. A console release on a Sunday? Doesn't make too much sense to me but whatever.

Nintendo has said it plans to ship 4 million Wii's worldwide by the end of 2006. The Wii will cost $250 (or more likely $249.99). Nintendo also confirmed that it will have more than 25 first- and third-party games available at launch, with 30 on shelves by the end of the year. First-party games will cost $50, the cost of third-party Wii games is unknown.

Nintendo has also announced that classic NES, SNES, and N64 games will be downloadable to the Wii's console and would range from $5 to $10, just like most Xbox Live Arcade games. Around 30 titles will be available at launch, including games from the Donkey Kong, Zelda, and Mario franchises, with a total of 60 arriving by the end of the year. The console will come with the Wii Sports compilation packed in the console.

After buying the Wii's Opera browser using prepaid Nintendo points, gamers will be able to surf the Web using the Wii-mote controller as a mouse. The Wii's has DVD playback abilities and the console will also have many multimedia functions, called "Wii channels." which include the Wii's weather channel, news channel, messaging services, and "Mii channel," which lets players create custom, cartoon-like avatars for use in games. The Wii will also let users upload and edit photos from SD memory cards and share them on the Web.

Sounds pretty good to me. Tons of similarities to some of what the Xbox 360 does well, I wonder how they'll work and look. The Wii also has a few creative ideas (web browsing, Wii channels) that sound really cool.

Update: PS3 News - Sony announced that only 500,000 PS3's will be available in the U.S. and Japan at launch with the PS3 European debut being pushed back to 2007. Of those 500K, 400K will be released in the U.S. November 17. Supposedly, 1-1.2 million units will be available in North America by the end of the year.

This is obviously great news for Microsoft and Nintendo.

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