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Wii U launching December 8 - most expensive Nintendo console yet

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Nintendo has revealed the release date, price and package options for the Wii U console in its native Japan. There'll be a choice of two packages, but even the cheapest one will be more expensive than previous Nintendo consoles.

The Wii U will launch on December 8 in two iterations. The basic model will include a white Wii U console with 8GB of flash memory and one controller. This will cost ¥26,250.

The premium model, meanwhile, will feature a black Wii U console with 32GB of flash memory, and will cost ¥31,500.

Interestingly, the entry point of ¥26,250 will make the Wii U the most expensive Nintendo console ever. Every one of the Kyoto giant's consoles since the Super Famicom (known as the SNES over here) has cost ¥25,000 at launch, including the Wii.

Of course, that ¥1,250 increase represents about a tenner in UK money, so it's not a major hike up.

Wii U Controller

A large part of the reason for this increased price is no doubt the ambitious tablet-like controller that will be bundled with every Wii U. This slab-like device sports a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen, physical controls and motion-sensing internals, and will allow players to beam Wii U games to it when the TV is otherwise occupied.

These advanced controllers will cost a considerable ¥13,440 on their own - more than half the price of the console itself.

As for how this will impact on the global Wii U price (as well as release dates), we'll find out later today when Nintendo of America holds its own event. We'll say one thing though - we wouldn't be surprised if it follows suit and costs more than the Wii's £179 launch price back in 2006.

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