WiiU Initial Prices/Dates/Further Specs Revealed

[Update] The Australian pricing for the Wii U has come through and is as follows:
-AUD$349.95 for the Basic Package
-AUD $429.95 for the Premium Package

No word yet on the pricing of Accessories, but I wouldn’t expect them to be cheap at all… [Cloney]

[Original] The Wii U has kinda been shrouded in mystery since it was initially revealed way back at E3 2011. Sure, we knew most of the key details – but there was still plenty we needed to know about Nintendo’s leap into the current generation of hardware. Thankfully, the next few days are set to pretty much reveal the last key details about the system – starting with the final specs, as well as when it’ll be out and how much you’ll be playing able to get the damned thing. 

Nintendo revealed the Japanese launch details via its whenever the hell they feel like it Nintendo Direct liveshow (all in Japanese, which was thankfully translated by NeoGAF user Cheesemeister and 8-4’s John Ricciardi), in which Nintendo head Satoru Iwata confirmed that the system will be launching in Japan on December 8th, and for a first, will be launching with two versions – a Basic and Premium model. For the Basic model, you’ll be shelling out $322 AUD, while the premium model will set you back around a cool $386 AUD. Though don’t take that to heart just yet – those prices were converted from the Japanese (26250 and 31500 Yen, respectively), and it’s kinda unlikely Nintendo Australia will be matching that. Though you’d hope Nintendo AU don’t match the price of a Wii U Gamepad, which’ll set you back 13,440 Yen, or in local currency, a cool $166 AUD.

As for the differences between the two models; on a basic level, the core differences are that the Premium version contains a stand for the system, a charging dock for the gamepad and a stand for the gamepad (don’t worry, those come separately). It also comes in black, with 25GB onboard storage. The Basic version comes in white, with a paltry 8GB on storage. Nothing was mentioned about any methods to increase storage, but you’d have to imagine there’s some compatibility with SD Cards, much like with the Wii.

But the most significant difference is that by purchasing a Premium version, or what’s known as the “Nintendo Network Edition”, you’ll be entitled to a 10% rebate from the purchase of a full game and be able to apply it to an eShop game until the end of 2014. Not to mention that with WiiU retail games also coming in downloadable flavours, it’s not a bad incentive to Nintendo to encourage users to download more from its digital services.

Otherwise, viewers were treated to some specs that somewhat surprising. The system has 2GB of memory, with a split of 1GB for the OS and 1GB for games. Discs have a total capacity of 25GB, the system will output in 1080i and is powered by a GPGPU. No idea what it stands for. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – there’s going to be more information within the next few days, so stay tuned.