Nintendo reveals details of Wii U

Nintendo’s announced pricing and availability for the Wii U console in Japan. Details on the international release can be found here.

There are to be two versions: a basic model costing Y26,250 – or about $340 – and a premium version for Y31,000, or $405. Nintendo’s past pricing policies suggest that they’ll retail in the US for quite a bit less – almost certainly under $300.

The former has 8GB of storage, with the more expensive model taking that up to 32GB and adding membership to Nintendo Network Premium, which gives users discounts on software purchases, as well as other, still-to-be-announced perks. The Premium version also comes with AC adapters for the console and controller and an HDMI cable.

Both come with one GamePad controller – and anyone wanting a second will have to pay an eye-watering $167. Nintendo’s tried to make sure this isn’t strictly necessary, though, with a second player able to use a Wii  remote or a $70 Pro Controller, which looks just like the Xbox 360 controller.

No games are included; first to launch will be New Super Mario Bros U and NintendoLand.

The touchscreen controller allows users to carry out tasks while the main action continues on screen, and can also be used for gameplay on its own. But it lacks multitouch, and faces stiff competition from both Sony and Microsoft. This, too, in an environment where sales of both hardware and games are falling dramatically.

The consoles are due to launch in Japan on December 8; the US launch date and pricing are expected later today.