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Wii U won't be priced at E3, will do day-and-date digital

Nintendo buried a number of announcements in its quarterly financial briefing yesterday, including a couple of mysterious new 3DS games, plans for day-and-date digital and retail launches, and more uncertainty regarding the Wii U.

In an investor briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed the new hardware will launch in Japan, the US, Europe and Australia "in the year-end sales season", and outlined the company's plans for E3 2012.

"We will showcase the final format, and discuss the details and the software lineup for this year at E3 2012," he said,

"Please also be advised that, as we did for previous platforms that were launched in the year-end sales season, we will announce the launch date and price in each market sometime after E3."

Regarding the 3DS, Iwata noted three unannounced first-party titles due in the next financial year. Regarding prebiously revealed but still undated titles like Luigi's Manions 2, Iwata said only that Nintendo will release games "in a timely fashion".

The president later moved on to discussing the 3DS eShop and its upcoming Wii U offsider, noting that New Super Mario Bros. 2 will be the first game to be released digitally on the same day as it hits retail.

"In principle, starting from this software, the company will offer the software titles that Nintendo itself publishes in both packaged and digital download formats so that our consumers can choose the way to purchase them," he said, noting the project codenamed Onitore will be the next game to see dual release.

"For the Wii U, we will start the digital download sales of packaged software that I just discussed, so our consumers can choose either the packaged version or the digital download version of the same software from day one of the Wii U’s launch."

While taking pains to stress that Nintendo will support the retail market, Iwata is clearly pushing digital distribution despite Nintendo's traditional reluctance to mebrace it.

"Since the packaged and the digital download formats both have their own merits, we would like to offer both of these options to our consumers," he said.

"Nintendo’s basic strategy is to expand the gaming population. We would like as many people as possible, regardless of age, gender and game play experience, to have access to our product messages. From that perspective, for our digital business to grow drastically, it is imperative for us to expand the exposure of the digital download products to potential consumers."

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