By Adam Dickter / CIO Today. Updated September 16, 2012.
The clock is ticking on Nintendo's U.S. Web site: 62 days (as of Sunday) until the launch of its next-generation gaming platform, the Wii U, with a large selection of new game titles to lure both serious and casual gamers.
The Japanese home entertainment giant promises that its new high-definition system will offer "entirely new ways for consumers to play games and enjoy their favorite programming" when it hits stores on Nov. 18, just in time for the holiday shopping season and beating top rivals Microsoft and Sony to the punch with a new console.
Basic and Deluxe Sets
The basic Wii U in the familiar white casing, one tablet-like GamePad controller and 8 gigabytes of storage will retail at $299.99, while the black Deluxe Set, with 32 GB and the new Nintendo Land title, goes for $349.99. The Deluxe set also includes a console stand, GamePad charging cradle and a stand for placing the GamePad vertically on a table. You'll also be enrolled in the Deluxe Digital Promotion, which grants points for each digital download redeemable for future content from the Nintendo eShop, through 2014.
Coming game titles include Nintendo's own New Super Mario Bros., Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, Lego City: Undercover, Pikmin 3 and Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Skylanders Giants, and Transformers Prime, among many others.
"With the integrated second screen of the included GamePad and features that instantly enhance the way people play games, watch video and interact with each other, consumers will see how Wii U delivers a completely unique experience and a remarkable value right out of the box," said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime in a statement.
"The new system also creates extraordinary new possibilities for game developers, bound only by the limits of their imaginations."
The Wii U accesses Nintendo's answer to Microsoft's Xbox Live, the online community Miiverse as well as Nintendo TVii for accessing subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant Video.
High Demand Seen
"I imagine the holiday season will be a strong one for Nintendo," said ABI Research Digital Home analyst Michael Inouye. "They are the first game company to market with a next-gen console, pricing is reasonable, and I have a feeling demand will probably outstrip supply."
Inouye said the large number of game titles available at launch or shortly after will drive sales, especially since hardcore gamers may be tiring of offerings on other platforms.
"Naturally this will help sales, and hopefully addresses the issues they had with the Nintendo 3DS, which had a very weak launch game list," he said.
Fils-Aime's comments that the GamePad controller will not be sold separately suggest that the company doesn't want to limit the number of bundles it can sell.
"Nintendo is trying to avoid the stock-out issues that plagued the original Wii, or perhaps it's an indication of expected shortages this holiday season as well," Inouye said.
In either case, he said, Nintendo wins because the company will either clean up from sales, or the shortage will make the Wii U appear to be in high demand.
"The only bad scenario is if a ton of consoles are left sitting on shelves, which would be disastrous for Nintendo," Inouye said.