Wii U Gameplay

Gamers in Japan can take their Wii U home on Dec. 8.

While much of the U.S. slept, Nintendo of Japan announced Wii U launch details. This is just hours ahead of Nintendo of America’s press event, set for later today.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata spoke about the Wii U hardware, saying that third-party software would be talked about during the U.S. presentation.

The console will have 2GB onboard memory.  That’s 1GB for games and 1GB for the system software.

Wii U memory

Nintendo decided that the WIi U will not include any games — at least not in Japan. Wii U discs have a 25GB capacity. Super Mario Bros. Wii U and NintendoLand are both confirmed launch titles. It doesn’t seem like they will be using that full disc capacity as both will be available as downloads, too. The latest Mario game will sell for 6,000 yen, which is around $77 (according to the Google yen to dollar converter we used for the calculations). NintendoLand will retail for 5,000 yen, which is around $65. Wii U owners who own a Wii will be able to transfer their WiiWare and Virtual Console games over to the new system.

The Wii U Pro controller that debuted earlier this year will sell for 5,040 yen, which is about $65. The GamePad (a controller with a built-in screen) will sell for 13,000 yen, which is almost $170. It will include an AC adapter.

The system will launch with two SKUs: basic and premium. The basic set contains 8GB of onboard storage for 26,250 yen (just under $340), and the premium set has 32GB. It will sell for 31,500 yen ($405). Nintendo’s premium version includes a membership to “Nintendo Network Premium,” which gives users 10 percent off their digital purchases. It also comes with stands for the system and GamePad. The Wii Remote, Nunchuk, and Sensor Bar will also be available as a bundle for those who don’t already own those accessories.


Unfortunately, the pricing conversion does not seem to give a good sign of what we can expect from the Wii U in North America unless Nintendo plans to charge $400 for their next console. The GamePad pricing will likely be in the $150 range, which sounds more plausible. Based on the conversions, we can guess that the games would retail for anywhere between $50 and $60.

The Dec. 8 launch date may mean that the console will launch just before the holidays in North America as Nintendo typically releases in Japan before the U.S.

The Wii U is Nintendo’s upcoming gaming console and the successor to the Wii, which according to Iwata has told 96 million units to date.

The console debuted at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the game industry’s annual trade show, in 2011. Details were sparse until E3 2012, when Nintendo announced a launch window and titles.

Stay tuned to GamesBeat, because we will be covering Nintendo’s North American event today at 10 a.m. EST. Nintendo will likely announce pricing and a launch date for Wii U stateside.