Wii U comes in 8GB and 32GB models, starts at $340 in Japan

Today's the day Nintendo starts actually confirming solid Wii U launch details, and it kicked off in the wee small hours of the morning with Japan. Nintendo revealed that its new console will launch over there on December 8 and come in both 8GB and 32GB models, starting at around $340--more than a 4GB Xbox 360 or 160GB PlayStation 3 costs there.

The white Wii U Basic Set with 8GB of storage has a suggested price of ¥26,250 ($337.76 US right now), while the black Premium Set with 32GB is to cost ¥31,500 ($405.32). Both include the tablet-y GamePad, along with an HDMI cable and AC adaptors for the tablet and console.

The Premium Kit also contains two years of Nintendo Network Premium membership, which offers a 10% discount on digital games and gives you bonus points too. Also packed into the box are a console stand, and a dock and stand for the GamePad.

The Wii U has 1GB of system memory and 1GB of game memory, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said on the stream. Wii U discs have a 25GB capacity--read at 22.5MB/s--and the whole shebang will use up to 75W watts of power.

New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land are confirmed as launch day releases, but neither is bundled with the console in Japan. That may be different in the rest of the world, as Japan was the only place not to bundle Wii Sports with the original Wii, and the two do seem likely pack-in candidates.

Nintendo will be streaming a Wii U presentation for North America at 7am Pacific today, so keep your peepers peeled for more information about the launch over here. Here's what some of your favourite Shackstaff predict.