Nintendo's Wii U console will start at ¥26,250 ($US337) in Japan and release on December 8th, it was announced during the Japanese Nintendo Direct presentation today.

The console will come in a basic set and a premium set. The premium set will cost ¥31,500 and come with a black version of the game system, 32GB of flash memory, a GamePad, two power adapters, and an HDMI cable. It will also come with Nintendo Network Premium, a kind of loyalty program that offers 10 percent off digital purchases, which is currently a standard offer across Japanese electronics retailers like Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera. The basic set will cost ¥26,250 ($US337) and come with a white console that has 8GB of flash memory and gamepad.

The high-definition console, which has 2GB of RAM – 1GB for game memory and 1GB for system memory – and can play 25GB discs, was first announced at the games industry trade show, E3, in 2011. Over the past year the console's features and add-ons were revealed, such as the Wii U's much talked about GamePad, the GamePad's battery life, the Wii U Panorama View software, and the Wii U pedometer, as well as games that have been confirmed for the console. Information about the console's Pro Controller and the Wii U's console body was also released during this time.

For comparison, the entry-level PlayStation 3 is priced at ¥24,980 in Japan, while the base Xbox 360 is priced at ¥19,800.

A price and release date for the Wii U in North America will be announced on September 13th in New York City at 10AM EDT. Polygon will be covering the event as it happens.

Nintendo will also be revealing details about the Wii U console for its European audiences in a Nintendo Direct stream that kicks off on Thursday September 13th at 3PM UK time, coinciding with the event in New York City.

Keep up to date with our coverage of Nintendo's Wii U announcement by following our stream.