Friday, September 14, 2012

Wii U Launch Details

The Premium console
There are few companies that are as well known in the gaming world as Nintendo. In the handheld realm, they have dominated the world with the Gameboy brand the DS brand. In the world of consoles they have a storied legacy that has its fair share of ups and downs. Their last console, the Nintendo Wii came out of the park and smashed sales records left and right. The successor to the Nintendo Wii was announced in E3 2011, but details about the console have been slim to none. On September 13th, 2012 Nintendo had unleashed the gates and has flooded the gaming world with details on its upcoming console.

The console will be launching first in North America in November 18, 2012. The console will feature a basic model that has 8 GB of storage for $300. Taking some cues from Sony and Microsoft, they also announced a Deluxe model that includes 32GB of storage, while including NintendoLand, a stand, and a digital media promotion for $350. The console will launch in the European Union and Australia on November 30, 2012. It will launch in Japan last in December 8, 2012. Initially, the basic model will be sold in white and the premium/deluxe model will be sold in black. Each unit will include the Wii U controller that has a built-in 5” screen. 

North American Launch Lineup:
  • Assassin's Creed III 
  • Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II 
  • Darksiders II 
  • Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Twodisney
  • ESPN Sports Connection Game Party Champions
  • Just Dance 4 
  • Madden NFL 13 
  • Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth 
  • Mass Effect 3: Special Edition NBA 2K13
  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • Nintendo Land Rabbids Land 
  • Rayman Legends
  • Scribblenauts 
  • Unlimited Sonic All-Stars Racing
  • Transformed Transformers Prime 
  • Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 
  • ZombiU 

The game that created
thousands of bitter tears
 The North American and European press conference also featured two huge unexpected announcements. The first big announcement was the western release of Monster Hunter 3G for the Nintendo 3DS. This announcement was coupled a game that came out of left field, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, which was an HD port of Monster Hunter 3G. This HD port includes online play, HD graphics, and an ability to communicate with the 3DS version of the game. The second big announcement is the game announcement that is still making waves long after it got announced, the exclusive release of Platinum Games’s Bayonetta 2. Sega has been in deep financial woes lately, and they have announced a master plan that would only focus on several core games. Part of the games on the chopping block was the fan-favorite Bayonetta franchise that was developed by Platinum Games. Nintendo is paying for development of Bayonetta 2, ensuring that they have a top exclusive built from the ground up for the Wii U.

Mario for the Wii U takes lots of
cues from Super Mario World
Locking two major exclusives is a sign to me that Nintendo is serious about its pronouncement earlier about going after the gamer market. It is also a signal to the Japanese community that the Wii U will be a major force in the Japanese market. There has been heavy controversy about Nintendo releasing the Wii U with hardware that is a half-generation leap beyond the PS3 and the XBOX 360. With many developers going out of business due to increasing development costs, there may be a hint of genius behind Nintendo’s strategy. As games went for ever-larger budgets, they came at the cost of taking out the mid-tier and niche games. If Nintendo could position itself as the main console for the mid-tier and niche Japanese games, they can carve out a significant market that will not be served by Sony and Microsoft’s next generation consoles.

Nintendo is serious about dominating the next generation of consoles; it will be interesting to see what direction they will take the Wii U. The console is already starting to make waves, selling out of the hardware in North American retail stores Best Buy and Gamestop shortly after announcement. We will see whether the console catches on fire like its predecessor, or becomes a slow burning machine like the 3DS.

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