If the world doesn’t end before the 2012 holiday shopping season rolls around, it sounds like there’s a decent chance we’ll actually see Nintendo’s Wii U on Sunday, Nov. 18. That’s the date plucked by WiiUDaily from an email it claims was sent by Japanese retailer Media Land to its employees. According to the email, the Japanese launch is set to happen a week later, Sunday, Nov. 25. The email is apparently silent on other region release dates.
Nintendo has said it plans to launch the Wii U worldwide sometime in the fourth quarter of 2012, but I’ve been assuming — and still am — that we won’t get a formal release date from the horse’s mouth until E3 this June. Companies like to pop things like release dates for major products at dog-and-pony shows. E3 surely fits that bill.
Of course November lines up with expectations anyway, but then so would August or October. Other points favoring November would be the Wii’s U.S. launch date (Nov. 19, 2006) and the GameCube’s (Nov. 18, 2001). And Nintendo rivals Microsoft and Sony launched the U.S. versions of their current-gen systems in November: the Xbox 360 on Nov. 16, 2005, and the PlayStation 3 on Nov. 11, 2006. So whether the email plucked from the ether here is legitimate as well as accurate or just another retailer throwing target dates around for internal purposes, I suspect most prognosticators were already betting on November anyway.
The Wii U will be Nintendo’s sixth home console since the original Nintendo Entertainment System (launched on Oct. 18, 1985). It’ll finally bring Nintendo into the high-definition TV fold (support for up to 1080p output), employ much more powerful processors under the hood and include a funky-looking controller with a tablet-like touchscreen. It’ll maintain backward compatibility with both Wii games and Wii peripherals.