It’s not just Apple which is giving its devices an overhaul. Japanese technology giant Nintendo has revealed its new Wii U will be on sale in time for Christmas.
Nintendo, which uses the slogan “Wii would like to play,” says its new console will be on sale in America first, on November 19, followed by a November 30 launch date for the UK and, lastly, in Japan on December 6.
It’s the first new console from Nintendo in six years and is designed to fend off increasingly stiff competition in the gaming market from tablet and smartphone makers, including Apple.
It comes with two GamePad controllers which are designed to look and feel like tablets. And those who have created their very own Miis will have somewhere new to meet. Nintendo’s version of a social network, Miiverse allows you to communicate with other players in real-time by using the Wii U GamePad. The Miis gather in the plaza area, around different icons which represent games titles. It means you can see what games are proving popular at any given time, and find new friends who might be interested in the same titles that you are.
It would appear then that Nintendo is finally keen to take on online social and content delivery platforms, but it will find itself playing catch up with the likes of the Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox.
Nintendo is also rolling out its favourite character in a bid to win hearts, minds and market share as the Wii U will be its first machine in 16 years to come with a dedicated Super Mario game title.
But despite any new features it will, perhaps, be the price which is key to whether consumers upgrade. It is expected to cost $349 in the US and, while no price point information has been released for the UK. It would appear, however, that Nintendo aims to undercut its rivals.
UK Games Editor for IGN Entertainment Keza MacDonald said eyes were now on retailers to see what price the console would be selling for in the UK.
“Their decision to price under the equivalent of £250 is a great decision for Nintendo,” he said, “especially given that their next Xbox and Playstation are likely to cost much more and aren’t expected until the end of 2013 at the earliest.”
MacDonalad said if the price became a lot more expensive, many UK gamers could be put off, perhaps saving up for the following year.
But, if Nintendo, which was founded in Kyoto, Japan, in 1889, can manage to get even a small percentage of the incredible 96m people who currently own a Wii to upgrade to the Wii U, it will enjoy a very successful launch indeed.
That’s not bad at all for a company which has toyed with just about every niche you can think of, including being said to have run love hotels and a taxi company, before becoming the multinational gaming corporation we now today.