Nintendo launched its new video game console Wii U on Sunday, whose intended audience, according to Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, “truly is 5 to 95.” The console went on sale at midnight with a launch event at the Manhattan Nintendo World store.
The Wii U’s price starts at $300. The device allows for "asymmetrical game play,” which means that if two people play the same game, they can have completely different experiences depending on whether they use a new tablet-like controller called the “GamePad “or the Wii remote.
Before the launch of Wii U, a number of reports suggested that streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video and Nintendo's own TVii service were to get delayed for the next few weeks. However, now it appears that this news was not entirely correct.
Netflix went on the record Sunday to confirm that its service is fully functional on Wii U from the very first day of its launch.
"Netflix is available today on the Wii U home screen with the Wii U launch in the US and Canada," Netflix director of product innovation Chris Jaffe said in a statement. "Netflix members can sign-in for full access."
“The Netflix experience on the Wii U system was designed to take advantage of the console’s unique two-screen experience with up to 1080p HDTV and the Wii U GamePad for the best browsing and viewing experience,” Jaffe added.
While Netflix is available on Wii U, Nintendo’s own TVii service is not likely to arrive until sometime in December, despite the company’s earlier announcement that the service would be patched in at launch, Slashgear reported.
“In the days and weeks ahead, the other three video services will be up and running. We’ve said that Nintendo TVii is coming in December, and so it truly is a living, breathing system that will bring more and more elements to bear over the days, weeks, months, and years ahead,” Slashgear quoted Fils-Aime saying.
Although the Wii U is the first major game console to release in years, it is still merely catching up with the HD trend while other players in the industry like Sony and Microsoft began selling their high-definition consoles years ago, according to an Associated Press report.
Rumors are rife that both Sony and Microsoft are expected to release their next generation consoles – PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 respectively – in 2013.
According to a research report published by IHS Screen Digest, the new Nintendo Wii U console is expected sell as many as 3.5 million units worldwide between its Nov. 18 release and the end of December 2012, a 12 percent more sales than 3.1 million Wii consoles sold during a similar period of time in 2006.
The report has predicted that Nintendo will sell about 53 million units of Wii U in the device’s first four years in the market. If this estimate turns out to be true, it will put Wii U’s commercial performance close to the NES that sold 62 million units to become Nintendo's bestselling console for 20 years.