Nintendo Wii launch details confirmed

US and Japan plans outlined.

Following on from today's Japanese announcement and New York Times report, Nintendo has confirmed that its Wii console will launch on November 19th in the USA priced US$ 250 (EUR 197 / GBP 133).

The package includes one wireless Wii remote control, one Nunchuck, and a bundled copy of Wii Sports - which consists of tennis, baseball, golf, boxing and bowling games.

During an hour-long conference, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said the worldwide shipment goal was four million units by the end of the year.

There'll be around 15 launch titles in the US, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and ExciteTruck will be among them. Games will cost US$ 50, and Nintendo says we'll see 30 this year, although Metroid Prime and Super Mario Galaxy will both launch in 2007.

The console is set to launch in Japan on December 2nd, priced 25,000 yen (EUR 167 / GBP 113), and Nintendo has confirmed it plans to announce the system's European release date and price during a conference in London tomorrow, at 12PM BST.

The US launch date for Wii puts it on store shelves two days after Sony's PlayStation 3, although Sony's 100,000 Japanese PS3s will have more room to manoeuvre, with three weeks elapsing between respective launches in the Far East.

Elsewhere in Nintendo's presentation there was confirmation of other details that appeared in a New York Times report, including the pricing for downloadable Virtual Console games, which will be sold through the Wii "shopping channel".

Nintendo will have at least three of these classic titles online at launch, with 30 set for release by the end of the year, and another ten again in each month of 2007. An earlier report today specified that Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong would appear on the system.

Pricing for the downloadable games will be 500 "Wii Points" (US$ 5) for NES games, 800 points for SNES and 1000 for N64. 2000-Wii-point cards will be sold at US retail for US$ 20, Nintendo said. In addition to games for those older systems, the Wii will be backwards compatible with some 530 GameCube titles from day one as previously announced.

There were also software demonstrations at the event in New York, including the Bowling element of Wii Sports, and the console's interface of "channels". Along with regularly updated news and weather channels, there'll be a Mii Channel, which allows you to create an avatar and then transfer it to the Wii remote to carry around with you.

A Wii message board will allow you to send messages or photos to other Wii users, as well as PC and mobile phone users, while an Internet channel will use the Opera web-browser to let you surf the net. Opera will be sold separately, but there'll be no access costs for using the Internet - unlike Xbox Live Gold.

There was also talk of WiiConnect24 again - the system that downloads updates while the console is in standby mode, and will theoretically allow you to do things like have people visit your Animal Crossing town while you're asleep.

After the main conference, Nintendo also answered some general questions. Wii remotes will cost US$ 40 it said, with Nunchuck attachments sold for US$ 20.

Attendees were also told to expect more details in future about the DS' relationship with Wii, which has been hinted at in the past but remains cloudy at this point.

For more on the Wii channels, check out the Japanese demonstration videos we have hosted on Eurogamer TV. We also have the full Japanese launch line-up, and new information on Super Monkey Ball and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles.

And of course join us again tomorrow at 12PM BST when we'll be providing live-text coverage of whatever happens at the Nintendo conference here in the UK, with video coverage, impressions and all sorts of other nonsense to follow.

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