Nintendo's Wii U to start at $300

We already know the upcoming Wii U console won't dramatically exceed the graphical fidelity of current-gen consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. And we all know it doesn't take much to outdo seven-year-old hardware these days. Surely, that means the Wii U is going to be really affordable. Right?

Yeah, not so much. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has confirmed that the Wii U will start at $300 when it arrives stateside on November 18. The premium model will cost $350.

Now, to be fair to Nintendo, the Wii U isn't just a simple hardware upgrade over the Wii. It's going to ship with a brand-new controller, the GamePad, which has a 6.2" display and is designed to augment the traditional gaming experience. The Wii U will also take a page out of the Xbox 360's playbook by integrating Netflix and Hulu Plus. Amazon's video-on-demand offering will be on the menu, too, and the Journal says the Wii U will be able to interact with TiVo DVRs.

Still, $300 is a lot for a console that will probably pale in comparison to Microsoft's and Sony's next-gen offerings. Perhaps that doesn't matter yet, though. After all, those devices still aren't out, and they presumably won't be for a while yet. Nintendo is going to be first out of the gate with new hardware this cycle, which may give it more room to overcharge. The company could then enact swift price cuts once truly next-gen hardware hits stores.

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