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Wii U to hit shelves spring or summer 2012, says Sega exec

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Though Nintendo has been deliberately vague about the release window for the Wii U, one of its publishing partners is getting more specific. In an interview with GameSpot, Sega’s Alan Pritchard, executive vice president of marketing, revealed that the console may be coming in spring/summer of 2012.

When asked if Sonic Generations will be released for the Wii U, he explained why it won’t be coming to Wii U. “The timing just doesn’t work,” said Pritchard. “Generations releases this November, and the Wii U is coming out next spring/summer. I think one of the things we don’t have to do, or reduce where possible, is we don’t want to port games. I think if there’s going to be a Sonic game for the Wii U, it needs to be built from the ground up. It’s more likely that it would be a separate stand-alone installment or in conjunction with a multiplatform release in the future. But to bring out Generations on a platform six or eight months after we release PS3, 360, and 3DS probably won’t be the best strategy.”

While hardly a confirmation, this timeline does make some sense. When the Wii was originally announced as the “Revolution” at E3 2005, it was not playable in any form. It wasn’t until the Game Developer’s Conference in February 2006 that we got our first look at games playing on the console. A mixture of complete games and tech demos were then playable at E3 2006 and the system hit shelves in November of that year.

Nintendo has already announced the final name of its console (Wii U), shown completely playable demos, and given third parties development hardware for its new system. By all accounts, it looks like the publisher is well ahead of schedule for what we presumed was a November 2012 launch (consoles typically release toward the end of the year). However, pushing this date up 3-5 months to a June – August release might make sense, given how far along the company appears to be. It would be odd, however, for Nintendo to release the console before E3 2012, as that is a big chance for it to gain some buzz among the hardcore gaming community, something Nintendo has stated is one of its goals.

When do you think the Wii U will hit shelves?

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