Image: Wii U GamePad. Nintendo.

Well, pulls back a few layers, but leaves enough to the imagination to inspire fear and frustration.

First, the basics: the Wii U will be released in North America on November 18, 2012 and come in two varieties. The “Basic” model will be $299, white, and include 8GB of internal memory. The “Deluxe” model will be $349, black, include 32GB of internal memory, a copy of Nintendo Land, and a subscription to a premium program that lets you earn back points from digital purchases for future buys. The Deluxe model also ships with stands for the system and controller, as well as a charging cradle for the GamePad. Both models include AC adapters for system and controller, an HDMI cable, and a sensor bar.

The Wii U will be launched in Europe and Australia on November 30th and in Japan on December 8th.

Games talk at today’s conference was reserved largely for known and expected titles. In addition to re-showing the likes of New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land, a raft of Activision ports were also announced, including Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. While a sizable raft of games are now known to be in development, only NSMB U and Nintendo Land have been confirmed for North American launch. The rest will be coming sometime in the system’s “launch window,” which extends all the way to March 2013.

The biggest, most raucous and hype worthy news to come from today’s proceedings is the announcement of two high-profile third party games for the new system. The first is Bayonetta 2, which was being worked on for other systems before being cancelled. The title is now being published by Nintendo and built exclusively for the Wii U. The second game is an HD port of Monster Hunter Tri, to be titled Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Incredibly, this game will also be available on the 3DS and sold in western markets, sometime around March 2013.

One major non-gaming feature for the Wii U was also announced today, Nintendo TVii. This ingeniously named application aggregates a user’s video services and allows him or her to browse them collectively at leisure. The GamePad will function as a super-remote for Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, TiVo, and even regular old television.

Numerous questions remain following today’s proceedings. Little was said of Wii U’s operating system, and specifics of the system’s online functionality remain a mystery. What little was revealed about the Wii U’s online store has only reignited festering resentment.

The good news is, we’ve only got two months of fighting for scraps of information to go before Nintendo is finally forced to reveal everything by actually putting its product in consumers’ hands.

Nintendo “unveils” Wii U launch details

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