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Thursday, September 14, 2006
Nintendo Wii Pricing and Availability Announced

Nintendo said on Thursday it will launch its new game console, the Wii, on December 2 in Japan for 25,000 yen ($212), making it the third and last major game maker to bring a next-generation console to market.

The announcement was largely expected as Nintendo has said it would launch the Wii in the final quarter of 2006 at 25,000 yen or less in Japan and $250 or cheaper in the United States. It did not give a launch date or price for Europe or the U.S. However, it is expected to be avalable in the U.S. November 19th, priced just under US$ 250, according to an article on the New York Times, which revealed that individual games will be priced US$ 50, while downloadable titles will cost between US$ 5 and US$ 10. Note that the article has since been removed from the New York Times website.

Sony plans to offer a version of its PlayStation 3 console with a 20-gigabyte hard disk drive in Japan on November 11 for 62,790 yen, and in the United States on November 17 for $499, setting the stage for a three-way showdown with Nintendo and Microsoft in the nearly $30 billion video game industry.

In Europe, however, gamers will have to wait until after the year-end shopping season to lay their hands on the PS3 as Sony last week delayed the European launch of the console to March from November due to inadequate supplies of a key component.

Nintendo, known for games featuring characters such as Donkey Kong, Mario and Pokemon, said there would be 16 software titles from 10 developers available at launch including "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" by Nintendo itself.

Nintendo is hoping to recreate the success of its DS handheld machine with the Wii console, which features an innovative and intuitive controller, described by some as a magic wand.

The one-handed controller looks like a TV remote and uses motion-detection sensors that allow players to control the game by wielding it like a sword, waving it like a conductor's baton, or swinging it like a baseball bat or a tennis racket.

Nintendo has said it would aim to sell 6 million units of the Wii console by March, which coincides with rival Sony's PS3 shipment target by the same month.

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