It’s been a long time coming, but today Nintendo finally lifted the lid on the proposed release date of its latest home console, the Wii U. Retail prices have since followed, raising more than a few eyebrows...
Having been announced a little over a year ago at E3 2011 – a press conference that will go down in videogame history as one of the most ambiguous public announcements – Nintendo can now confirm that the Wii U will make its way to the UK on November 30th of this year, almost guaranteed to make it to market a whole year ahead of its fiercest competition and the next-gen offerings from Microsoft and Sony.
Coming in two variants at launch, prospective buyers of the system will have to choose between a 'Basic Pack' that includes a white, 8Gb console, a bundled Game Pad, AC adapters, a sensor bar, and an HDMI cable; or the 'Premium Pack' that bundles a black 32Gb Wii U with all that just mentioned, a charging cradle and a free copy of Nintendo Land (hip hip... hoorah!?)
As is tradition, Nintendo has not provided UK retailers with RRP's, instead giving each free reign to attach their own price to the console based off of trade cost. The prices such retailers have come up with are nothing short of astounding, with GAME pinning a £259.99 price tag on the Basic, and a whopping £309.99 on the Premium. Amazon has opted for £249.99 for the Basic, but is not yet taking pre-orders on the Premium. ShopTo has gone for £247.85 and £324.85 respectively. Wii U retail games have an RRP of around £50. Add to the ballooning cost for the console with the confirmation in the Japanese Nintendo conference that additional Game Pads will retail for ¥13,440 (about £107) and you have yourself a staggeringly pricey piece of kit.
In comparison, the Gamecube was released in the UK at just £129 after a pre-launch price cut, while the Wii lined the shelves at midnight for £179. The latter sold like hotcakes. Only time will tell to see if the Wii U can live up to its predecessor's magnificent success - early signs don't give us much hope.