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Nintendo Wii Launch Date and Price Officially Announced

by Rainier on Sept. 14, 2006 @ 9:49 a.m. PDT

As was already revealed late last night, Nintendo announced the North American launch of its Wii home video game console is set for Nov. 19, at an MSRP of just $249.99. The price includes one wireless Wii Remote controller, one Nunchuk controller and the groundbreaking collection of five different Wii Sports games on one disc.

Every Wii console includes another distinctive feature: a series of on-screen “channels” that make up the Wii Channel Menu, which makes the console approachable and customizable for everyone, from the most avid gamer to people who have never played before. The Wii Channel Menu is the starting point for all of the console’s functions. The “channels” offer a gateway to a rich variety of entertainment options. When connected to a TV, the Wii Channel Menu offers a simple interface, letting users pick games to play, get news or weather, view and send photos or even create playable caricatures of themselves to use in actual games. Additional functions allow users to redeem Wii Points and download classic games to Wii’s Virtual Console™. The variety of options available through the Wii Channel Menu motivates both gamers and non-gamers to turn on Wii’s power every day.

Wii is creating worldwide excitement with its unique control system, an inventive, first-of-its-kind controller whose position can be detected in a 3-D space. The new controller allows users to pinpoint targets in games or move through the Wii Channel Menu with precision and ease. This intuitive control system will be understood immediately by everyone, regardless of their previous experience with video games. With this one small controller, Wii makes games both easier and more intense than anything previously experienced. For example, in the Wii Sports tennis game, players swing the Wii Remote like a racket to hit the ball, as in real life. They can add topspin or slice the ball just by angling their hands and wrist like they would in a real match.

“Wii reinvents games for the devoted player,” says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “But more importantly, Wii breaks the wall separating players from non-players by delivering the best game experiences for the most affordable price. We believe the next leap is games for the masses – young and old, gamer or non, alone, with a friend or with the whole family.”

Fils-Aime made his remarks in New York, shortly after Nintendo executives in Japan announced Wii will launch there on Dec. 2.

Between launch day and Dec. 31, Wii owners will enjoy a robust lineup of 30 software titles, with selections for everyone from video game veterans to newcomers. Some top Nintendo launch titles include Wii Sports, a compilation of tennis, baseball, golf, bowling and boxing; The Legend of Zelda®: Twilight Princess; and EXCITE TRUCK™. While publishers are free to set their own prices for games, first-party Nintendo titles will have an MSRP of $49.99. Wii’s self-loading media bay also can play the entire library of more than 530 Nintendo GameCube™ titles from day one.

Third-party developers around the world have lined up to provide unprecedented support for Wii.

“The Wii is changing audience interaction, opening up whole new experiences that have never been possible in video games,” says Robert Kotick, Chairman and CEO, Activision, Inc. “With the instinctual control of the Wii Remote, Nintendo is advancing the gaming experience to the broadest audience of gamers. Activision is excited about the launch of the Wii and the opportunity it offers. So much so, we plan to have five titles available at launch – our strongest lineup ever for a new console. We have more development resources devoted to the Wii than to any previous Nintendo platform. The Wii is likely to have a profound impact on the size, growth and overall opportunities for the video game market.”

“I believe the Wii will attract new and casual gamers to the world of interactive entertainment,” says Larry Probst, Chairman and CEO, Electronic Arts. “It’s a fun, easy and economical system that will become a bridge to gaming for mainstream audiences. At EA, we are putting more support behind the Wii than any Nintendo hardware launch since the Super NES.”

“The Wii control scheme opens up unexplored areas for our talented teams to innovate when creating games,” says Laurent DeToc, President of Ubisoft North America. “It’s invigorating for us. We believe that it will help create a new level of interest in video games and engage more players around the world.”

Additional information about the list of Virtual Console games and the pricing structure will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Size: About 8.5 inches long, 6 inches wide and less than two inches thick (157mm x 215.4mm x 44mm).

Controls: Intuitive control for anyone using the physical motion of the Wii Remote controller, which resembles a television remote control. Up to four Wii Remote controllers can be connected at once using wireless Bluetooth technology. The wireless signal can be detected within 10 meters of the console. Both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk™ controllers include a three-axis motion sensor. The Wii Remote controller also includes a speaker, rumble feature and expansion port, and can be used as a pointer within 5 meters of the screen. The Wii Remote controller has a power switch, plus pad, A, B, Minus, Home, 1 and 2 buttons. The Nunchuk controller includes an analog control stick and C and Z buttons.

The Look: The Wii console features a compact design that will make it a natural addition to any television setup. It can be displayed either vertically or horizontally.

Media: A single self-loading media bay will play single- or double-layered 12-centimeter optical discs for the Wii console, as well as 8-centimeter Nintendo GameCube™ discs.

Channels: The Wii Channel Menu is the main gateway for a variety of easy-to-use, interactive multimedia, entertainment and communication functions.

Communication: The Wii console can communicate with the Internet even when the power is turned off. The WiiConnect24™ service delivers a new surprise or game update, even if the system is idle. Users can connect wirelessly using IEEE802.11, or with a USB 2.0 LAN adaptor. The Wii console also can communicate wirelessly with Nintendo DS™.

Virtual Console: The Wii console will have downloadable access to 20 years of fan-favorite titles originally released for Nintendo® 64, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System® (SNES) and even the Nintendo Entertainment System® (NES). The Virtual Console™ also will feature a “best of” selection from Sega Genesis titles and games from the TURBO GRAFX16 console (a system jointly developed by NEC and Hudson). It also will be home to new games conceived by indie developers whose creativity is larger than their budgets.

The Specs: The Wii console has 512 megabytes of internal flash memory, two USB 2.0 ports and built-in Wi-Fi capability. A bay for an SD memory card will let players expand the internal flash memory. Design was optimized with state-of-the-art processing technologies that minimize power consumption, keep the console compact and enable the “sleepless” WiiConnect24 mode.

CPU: PowerPC CPU (code-named “Broadway”) Made with a 90 nm SOI CMOS process, jointly developed with and manufactured by IBM.

Graphics Processing Unit: Being developed with ATI.

Other Features: Four ports for classic Nintendo GameCube controllers. Two slots for Nintendo GameCube Memory Cards. An AV Multi-output port for component, composite or S-video.

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