Monday, September 18, 2006

Wii Out in November

Being Released Two Days Before PS3

The war of the next generation gaming consoles are heating up once again. Nintendo announced on Thursday that its Wii game console will go on sale in the US on this coming November 19. The suggested sticker price for the Nintendo Wii is US$250, far below the Xbox 360, which sells between US$300 to US$360 and the upcoming PlayStation 3 that comes in US$500 and US $600 models.

The Wii’s on time delivery only highlights Sony’s woes. Nintendo will release 4 million units by the end of the year. Sony has cut its release numbers of the PS3 in half this year, only releasing a total of 2 million units.

In an unusual move by a Japanese company, Nintendo plans to release the Wii in Japan two weeks after the US release. Nintendo says this move is not meant to undermine Sony, but because the holiday shopping season starts earlier in the US than it does in Japan.

The Wii succeeds the GameCube, the third best selling console behind the PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox. Nintendo almost had the market to itself in the late 80s and early 90s, with its main competitor being the now game-only maker Sega. During Nintendo’s domination, Sony and Microsoft were not producing gaming consoles at all.

The Wii will actually fall short in the battle of the tech specs. The Wii will not be high-definition capable, and its resolution is only slightly more advanced than a regular TV. Its power shortage is seen as the biggest gamble that Nintendo is making against its higher end rivals.

Nintendo is hoping that their new wand controller, its big price difference, as well as its stable of Nintendo only titles will attract a significant portion of the market to its console. Nintendo believes that most of the market have not yet adapted high-definition TVs, so being high-definition capable is not a major factor in buying a new console.

Like the other next-gen consoles, the Wii will have Internet capabilities. The standard model can adopt an existing wireless network in the home, or a separate wired connection is available as an accessory. Older Nintendo games such as Donkey Kong can be purchased online with the Wii for as little as US$5 to US$10.

Nintendo does have plans to provide games that allow players to connect to other players online, but none of the 30 or so launch titles feature online play.

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