In a press briefing today Nintendo announced that they will be releasing their next-gen system The Wii on November 19th in the US, and on December 2nd for Japan. It will retail at $250.00 for the system, which is less than the retail price of either the Xbox 360 or the upcoming PS3.

The Wii will come with one of it’s “nunchuck” controllers- which acts as a sensory capable controller simulating your own movements into the game, and has a connective piece for an analog joystick, hence why it’s called a ‘nunchuck”. The system’s package will also include Wii Sports, which is an anthology of sports games like boxing, tennis, and baseball, which will utilize the sensory functions of the Wii’s controller. Extra controllers will cost $39.99, since the system only comes with one controller.

The Wii was long rumored to be coming out for about $250, and it’s a huge shot across the bow for Nintendo in the hyper competitive console market. Ever since Sony announced it’s high end price of $600 for their PS3 at E3 earlier in the year, fans and industry insiders have been rather annoyed with what they perceive as Sony overpricing their system. My own personal belief is that if you’re going to spend $600 on a console system, you might as well buy a home computer instead. In fact, Microsoft’s also following Nintendo’s lead, somewhat. They’re dropping the price of the 360 within the next half year (probably early spring), and they’ve also expressed surprise at the PS3’s price.

Another thing in Nintendo’s favor is that the Wii’s games will be $49.99 (at least for first party games, but most likely all of them), rather than the $59.99 price range for 360 games, and what will be even higher price ranges for the PS3 games. GameCube games will also still be playable on the Wii, which means I can pretty much get rid of my GC now.

The release dates for many of the games for the Wii are still in flux however. Expect Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption to come out sometime this year. While the Wii’s games won’t be as high end in the graphical realm as the PS3’s games will be, or even at the 360’s level, it still will be above what the current gen systems do, and it’s innovative controller will effectively make the graphical issues moot. If you can’t have an enjoyable game, what use are high end graphics? With what looks to be strong third party support- at least for it’s launch- Nintendo has a chance to truly make a splash during the holiday shopping season, something they haven't done in years.

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