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Nintendo Reveals Japanese Wii U Price, Launch Details

Which means you should be taking the prices listed with a grain of salt, okay?

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Just hours ahead of a event in New York, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced key launch details about the Wii U as part of a late-night (for us here in America, anyway) Nintendo Direct event.

The machine will launch in Japan on December 8 for in two forms. A basic set, with 8GB of memory, for 26,250 yen ($337), and a premium, black version with 32GB of memory for 31,500 yen ($405). Those yen-to-dollar conversions aren't indicative of what it will actually cost here, by the way. Expect it to be lower, and possibly with a pack-in.

Remember, Nintendo did not ship the WIi with Wii Sports in Japan.

The deluxe version also includes Nintendo Network Premium, which will provide an unspecific amount of points for purchase, and 10% back (off?) digital purchases. Nintendo Network will be available on every device, obviously.

If you want to buy a separate Wii U Game Pad, it'll cost you 13,440 yen ($172). Yeah, it's expensive, and the machine will only support two Game Pads. Again, that price will change over here. $150 sounds about right.

Several accessories were also announced, including a stand for the Game Pad.

New Super Mario Bros. U and NintendoLand will both be available at launch in digital and retail forms. In Japan, New Super Mario Bros. U will retail for about 6000 yen ($77) and Nintendo Land for about 5000 yen ($64). It's easy to imagine that being $60 and $50 over here, but who knows? Maybe lower?

More details on Wii U launch software is being saved for the other event later today.

Iwata went over some basic specifications inside Wii U, but in typical Nintendo fashion, the company left plenty for people to speculate about. The machine supports outputs up to 1080p, and uses a "GPGPU." (No, I don't know what that means, either.) There's 2GB of memory within the system--1GB system memory, 1GB game memory. Finally, Wii U's game discs can feature up to 25GB.

In just a few hours, we'll know more. Another streaming event from Japan will go over more launch software, and there's the completely separate event in New York, too. Madness!

(Thanks to 8-4 Play's John Ricciardi and NeoGAF member Cheesemeister for play-by-play translation of the event.)

Patrick Klepek on Google+