CNN reports industry observers & insiders say they expect the system to be available in October, with late September a dark horse candidate.
* Nintendo is already manufacturing final retail units of the Wii, according to a June 21st analyst’s note from P.J. McNealy of American Technology Research. That would give it a significant head start over Sony (Charts), which has yet to begin final manufacturing of the PlayStation 3. Microsoft’s first Xbox 360 did not roll off the assembly line last year until 69 days before the on sale date of November 22, hence their shortages;
* “October is a reasonable timeframe,” wrote McNealy. Nintendo has downplayed any suggested dates. Other industry insiders, who asked not to be named, though, said they, too, are expecting a September or October launch for the Wii;
* A pre-November launch wouldn’t be an unusual move for the company. In fact, it was only with the GameCube that the company opted for a November release for a home system. The NES, which established the company as a force in the gaming space, was released in the U.S. on Oct. 18, 1985. The Nintendo 64 dropped on Sept. 29, 1996;
* Pricing for the Wii remains a question mark, but the most likely price points are $199 or $249. That would put it considerably below the PS3, which will sell two versions for $499 and $599. Microsoft is not expected to cut the prices of the two versions of the Xbox 360, which currently cost $299 and $399.