Nintendo Wii U release date is November 18th in US starting at $299.99, November 30th in Europe

Over a year since its E3 2011 reveal, Nintendo finally shared the release date and price for its upcoming Wii U console.

Nintendo's Wii U will launch November 18th in North America starting at $299.99, the company announced today during a New York City press conference.

The console will launch in two varieties: The $299.99 "Basic" version, which includes a white, 8GB Wii U console, a gamepad, AC adapters, a sensor bar, and an HDMI Cable. The $349.99 Deluxe edition includes all of that in a black, 32GB console, with charging cradles and a free copy of Nintendoland. The Deluxe Edition also includes access to the Deluxe Digital Promotion, which earns online shoppers rebates for downloadable Wii U titles.

The console will launch in Europe on November 30th. The price will vary from region to region, though retailers have been slow to announce how much they're selling the two bundles for. Micromania France is the only major retailer to speak up so far, announcing that its selling the Basic console for €299.99 and the Deluxe for €349.99. We'll update once more retailers show their hand.

For comparison, Nintendo's GameCube was released on November 18, 2001, a Sunday, for $200, while the Wii was released on November 19, 2006, also a Sunday, for $250. The Wii was the first Nintendo console to sell for more than $200 in the US, a trend continued with the 3DS, whose $250 asking price was lowered to just $170 less than five months after launch, in response to lower-than-expected sales.

The Wii U was first pre-announced in April 2011, when Nintendo revealed that the "Wii's successor system" would make an appearance at that year's E3. Rumors at the time specified a 6-inch tablet controller. At E3 in June, Nintendo confirmed this new console would be known as the Wii U and its hallmark feature would be a 6.2-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio, single-touch LCD touch screen controller known as the GamePad. At this year's E3, Nintendo confirmed that the Wii U would support up to two GamePads, in addition to four Wii Remotes.

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