The official release date for the Wii U may have just leaked today during a presentation by gaming accessory-maker PDP at a GameStop managers' conference in Texas.
A rep for PDP was showing the company's fall line-up at the conference and wrapped their presentation by saying the peripherals would be available just ahead of the Wii U's November 18 release date, according to an attendee who asked to remain anonymous. A similar account, by a different person, was posted on the NeoGAF message board.
The Wii U release date is not supposed to be public yet and will presumably be made official, along with the machine's price at a major New York City event on September 13.
"They changed the subject real quickly once they realized what they said," our source said.
We've reached out to PDP and Nintendo for comment and will let you know if we hear back.
UPDATE: PDP community manager Candace Hinton tells Kotaku that "at this time we can't confirm Nintendo's dates and we don't know exactly what was heard, but we simply do not know that this point. We are launching accessories, but the date for the accessories doesn't mean a confirmation on the hardware. If you seek confirmation on the date that is something that is going to need to go specifically though Nintendo, but we can't confirm or deny dates on any of their hardware."
UPDATE 2: A rep for Nintendo says: "We have nothing to announce at this time."
UPDATE 3: PDP's senior vice president of sales and marketing, William Otte, says this was all a misunderstanding: "Performance Designed Products ("PDP") is aware of recent rumors posted alleging that PDP inadvertently "leaked" the official release date of the upcoming Nintendo Wii U gaming system during a trade presentation earlier today. To be clear, PDP has no knowledge whatsoever of the official Wii U release date, and thus it is not possible for PDP to have "leaked" this information.
"During PDP's presentation of our fall line of gaming accessories to customers at a trade event, we stated that our Wii U accessories would be available at launch. Much later in the presentation we showed our Epic Mickey 2: The Power of 2 accessories for the Wii and confirmed that the Wii accessories will be in stores by the game's November 18 launch date. Connecting the Wii U launch and Epic Mickey 2 peripheral launch dates is inaccurate and false. PDP has no knowledge whether this is the official Wii U release date or not." [Editor's note: we're checking with our source again to see how that squares with their recollection; PDP maintained to Kotaku that, no, even though they're making peripherals for the Wii U, they don't know the official release date.]
UPDATE 4: Our source, who was in attendance confirmed the order of events cited by PDP but maintains that when PDP's rep mentioned the availability of the Wii U accessories they specifically said they would be available ahead of the WiiU's November 18th release date. It was the buzz discussion after the presentation, our source said. [Editor's note: This is pretty much he said/she said at this point. We'll have to leave it there.]
The November 18 date fits Nintendo's probable plan. The company prefers to launch major hardware and games on Sundays, as they did this past August 19 with the Nintendo 3DS XL and New Super Mario Bros. 2. Nintendo launched their previous consoles, the Wii and the GameCube, on Sundays as well—Sundays in November. This possible Wii U date, November 18, 2012, is also the final November Sunday before Thanksgiving and the big shopping bonanza that is Black Friday. It's doubtful Nintendo would consider a release date much later than that.
A November 18 release date would also put the Wii U in stores after major marketing pushes earlier in the month for the Xbox-360-only Halo 4 (November 4) and the multi-platform Call of Duty Black Ops II (November 13).
A note about this story's headline: This story's headline originally stated that a PDP rep at the GameStop conference had named the release date as November 18. Gaming Accessory-Maker Says Nintendo Will Launch the Wii U on November 18 This account was provided by two sources in attendances, one directly to Kotaku. Since then, considering that PDP officials maintain that they do not know the release date; we've added the word "source" to the headline to make it clear that non-PDP people are saying PDP people said this.