Following a trail of ambiguous sources, you'll find the website Wii U Daily claiming they've uncovered a Japanese retailer's internal email confirming a November 18 release date for the upcoming Nintendo console. I've been called a skeptic before, but let's put this rumor through the proper tests and see how reliable it may be.
Luckily, I come from the Internet and have seen a few rumors in my days. Here's the proper rundown on what makes sense and what red flags are apparent:
- Nintendo has already announced a Fall 2012 release for the Wii U. November 18 fits this schedule perfectly.
- In the past, Nintendo has preferred releasing software and hardware on Sundays, which November 18 happens to fall on.
- As Wii U Daily notes, "November is the most important month when it comes to gaming releases." Or, in a better light, releasing hardware before the consumerism-holiday that is Black Friday.
- Every console's intitial launch since the GameCube in 2001 has fallen between the days of November 11 and November 22.
- November 18 is the North American release date, with the Japanese release date one week later and Australia and Europe's release dates still undefined. This fits Nintendo's release order for the Wii.
- Less than reputable source. No offense to Wii U Daily, but when you source an email from a Japanese retailer but don't provide either the email or the name of the retailer -- red flag.
- Retailers love to estimate release dates based off of speculation. There's a reason why most gaming sites dont report on release dates from Amazon anymore; even though the site's estimates are typically good, they're still just estimates without legitimate sources. Even GameStop and Best Buy have listed bad dates.
- Console release dates change. Considering we are still months away from the console's release, production of the hardware could be anywhere between "hasn't started yet" and "ramping up." It's one of the reasons release dates aren't announced so early -- there's too many variables that could shift the release date forward or backwards.
- The schedule might be appropriate, but it hardly seems likely that a Japanese retailer would have a concrete schedule for all markets so many months ahead of release.
As much as I dislike giving credit for such poorly sourced rumors, this one could certainly be true. After all, when or why would Nintendo prefer to release their console otherwise? Still, it's probably not worth marking down on your calendar quite yet, at least until we know the system's launch lineup. Hopefully we'll hear more on that and a confirmation on the Wii U's true release date at this year's E3 in June.