After months of speculation from the gaming community, Nintendo has finally announced the release date and price of its new Wii U console. North American games can head out to stores on November 18, 2012 to pick up the their choice of console bundles: a $299.99 package that includes a white Wii U package with 8 GB of storage space and a GamePad or a $349.99 black Wii U package that includes 32 GB of storage space, a pack-in copy of Nintendo Land, and stands for both the console and the Wii U and GamePad. Both bundles also come with a HDMI cable, Wii U sensor bar, and power adapters for both the console and GamePad. No Wii remotes or nunchuks are included as Nintendo believes that there are more than enough of those accessories out there in the wild to meet demand, although Wii U-branded versions of those items will be available soon for those who need them.
Honestly, this is more expensive than I'd expected. I was personally hoping for a $299.99 bundle that included New Super Mario Bros. U, as nothing else in Nintendo's current list of launch window games (spanning from launch through March 2013) interests me. I'm long since burned out on mini-game collections, so Nintendo Land isn't doing anything for me despite its clothing made of famous franchises. Pikmin 3 isn't in my wheelhouse, and it's been a long time since a third-party publisher did something truly amazing on Nintendo hardware that aligned with my tastes. I know I'll wind up with a Wii U eventually because, well, Mario, but I'm just not seeing anything else in the launch window lineup that makes me want to rush out to arrange for a pre-order when that money could be better spent elsewhere right now. From where I stand, this launch announcement sounds like a $349.99* wager that Nintendo will eventually get around to releasing new Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Wario, Star Fox, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi's Island games once it's done with the family-friendly and casual stuff, and after the Nintendo 3DS launch price debacle, I'm not so sure that I want to place another long-term launch bet on Nintendo hardware right now. I do want one, but the timing is not right for me to pay that price. For Nintendo's sake, I hope the market disagrees with me.
* Seriously, if you're going to buy a Wii U, buy the one with more storage space. Learn from the 20 GB Sony PlayStation 3 launch controversy.