Nintendo announced overnight the New Zealand launch date and pricings for its next-generation Wii U console, as well as a list of launch titles - and I hope for Nintendo's sake that they release good games regularly so that gamers have a reason to play the new console.
If you're keen on having Nintendo's new console on the day it's released, pencil November 30 into your calender.
Nintendo also announced that there would be two hardware packs available on launch day. The basic pack, based on current exchange rates, will set you back around $445.95 and comes with a white Wii U console with 8Gb internal storage and a white Wii U GamePad (the one with a screen incorporated into it).
If you've got more bucks to spend, the premium pack, based on the current exchange rate, will cost you $545.95 and come with a black Wii U console with 32Gb of internal storage and a black Wii U GamePad. The premium pack also contains a stand for the GamePad and console, a charging cradle for the GamePad, a sensor bar and the Nintendo Land software.
Both packs also feature an HDMI cable and AC adapters for console and GamePad. The premium pack also features a reward programme called Nintendo Network Premium that grants points for digital purchases in Nintendo eShop.
Looking at those prices, I must say that they're not too badly priced for new hardware, and hopefully game makers will bring some unique game play features using the GamePad's integrated screen. I also like that an HDMI cable comes as standard. It means that the Wii U is ready to go right out of the box: you won't need to fork out more money for another cable. Other hardware manufacturers need to take note.
Launch games for our region include EA's Fifa 13 and Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Ubisoft's ZombiU and Rayman Legends and Mass Effect 3: Special Edition, as well as first-party titles such as Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros U. Games due next year include the previously unannounced Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101, both from Japan's Platinum Games.
Personally, I'm not sure whether those games scream ''Day One purchase'' of the Wii U for me. A press release from Nintendo listed a whole heap of other games coming for the Wii U, but there was no indication on whether those games will be available on launch day or after, only saying ''available on launch day or during the launch window''. The small print at the bottom of the release indicates the launch window is ''the period beginning December 1, 2012 and ending March 31, 2013''.
My biggest fear with the Wii U is that if game releases aren't handled right, it could become another 3DS, a great handheld that was hampered by a serious dearth of good games in the months following its launch. I hope Nintendo has learnt lessons from the 3DS and won't make the same mistake twice. Nintendo needs to keep the momentum flowing with the Wii U by releasing strong games in the following months.
So now that the launch date is confirmed, but NZ pricing yet to come, how tempted are you in buying a Wii U?
Other stuff you might be interested in: Game Junkie is on Twitter and you can email him here. He'll even answer your emails, not get some smart robot to do it. He also has another gaming blog here, but that needs to be updated more often than it is.
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