Right Now, I'm Calling the Wii U's American Price Tag

Nintendo of America's pricing and release date reveal for the Wii U is only hours away. Kotaku already posted the game's Japanese release date and dual pricing. But how much will it cost in U.S. dollars? I'm fairly confident my educated guess is right.

In Japan, Nintendo is launching two Wii U bundles: there's the basic set for ¥25,000 (sans tax) and a premium set for ¥30,000 (likewise, sans tax).

If you put those price tags in U.S. dollars, you get US$321 for the basic set and US$385 for the premium one. Nintendo is not likely to sell the Wii U for these prices in North America. The yen is very strong at the moment, so putting Japanese prices into dollars doesn't accurately convey how much said products would cost in the U.S.

What's more, Nintendo doesn't tend to price things based merely on the exchange rate. For example, the Nintendo 3DS XL costs ¥18,900 in Japan, which is US$243. However, the 3DS XL is priced at US$199.99.

And most importantly, when the Wii launched in 2006, it was priced at US$250—and ¥25,000 in Japan.

Of course, at that time the yen was weaker than the US dollar, so it was slightly cheaper to buy a Japanese Wii in dollars. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and I honestly cannot see Nintendo asking more than $250 for the Wii U (basic) and $300 for the premium bundle. The exact pre-tax price for each will be US$249.99 and $299.99. If Nintendo prices the basic model for, say, $275, that means the high end version would likely be above $325, crossing the three hundred dollar psychological threshold.

As for release date, the Wii U should go on sale right after Thanksgiving (or slightly before). While the console is hitting Japan in December, a November release is a no brainer, as Nintendo won't want to miss the biggest American shopping date of the year.