News from Play Asia

Around two week after the US launch, Japanese gamers are much looking forward to Saturday, December 2nd - the official Nintendo Wii™ street date in Japan. Distributors and wholesalers have started to receive supply during this week. Our first shipment of Japanese accessories has arrived yesterday; the first consoles and games have followed today. Time for us to play around with the Japanese system a little bit, test region compatibility issues and more.

This news post is intended to give a general overview of this week's software & accessory lineup as well as some other useful information for anyone intending to purchase a Japanese Wii™ system.

Japanese Hardware & Software Launch Lineup


Nintendo Wii JPN US$ 399.00
Wii Remote Control JPN US$ 39.90
Wii Nunchuk Controller JPN US$ 19.90
Wii Classic Controller JPN US$ 19.90
Wii AC Adapter JPN US$ 29.90
Wii AV Cable JPN US$ 9.99
Wii S-Video Cable JPN US$ 24.90
Wii Component AV Cable JPN US$ 29.90
Wii SD Memory Card 512MB JPN US$ 37.90
Wii Points Prepaid Card (1000 Wii Points / for Japanese network only) JPN US$ 9.99
Wii Points Prepaid Card (3000 Wii Points / for Japanese network only) JPN US$ 29.90
Wii Points Prepaid Card (5000 Wii Points / for Japanese network only) + Wii Classic Controller JPN US$ 59.90

Note: As forecasted by our suppliers, we are expecting shortage on Wii Remote Controls, Wii Component AV and Wii S-Video Cables. We estimate to have a better overview about what is in stock and what is on backorder by end of this week as some suppliers have not yet given full quantity reconfirmations as of now. As possible substitution for the Wii Remote Control, we recommend the Hajimete no Wii: Your First Step To Wii pack (which includes a free remote).

Please also note that the Wii D-Terminal AV Cable has been postponed to a yet to be confirmed date. Also the Wii LAN Adapter is not a release date accessory and is currently expected to be released within December.

Japanese Wii Points can only be redeemed on a Japanese network using a Japanese Wii™ console (see further below for more details).

Also in stock is limited supply of US version consoles & accessories:

Nintendo Wii (incl. Wii Sports) US US$ 499.00
Wii Remote Control US US$ 49.90
Wii Nunchuk Controller US US$ 24.90

The Nintendo Wii™ is region encoded. Japanese software only runs on Japanese consoles, while US software only plays back on US systems (read further below for more details).


Caduceus Z: 2-tsu no Chou $#@!tou / Trauma Center: Second Opinion JPN US$ 59.90
Crayon Shin-Chan: Saikyou Kazoku Kasukabe King Wii JPN US$ 59.90
Elebits JPN US$ 59.90
Ennichi no Tatsujin JPN US$ 49.90
Hajimete no Wii: Your First Step To Wii (w/ Remote) JPN US$ 59.90
Kororinpa JPN US$ 49.90
Necro-Nesia JPN US$ 64.90
Odoru Made in Wario JPN US$ 59.90
Red Steel JPN US$ 64.90
SD Gundam: Scud Hammers JPN US$ 59.90
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz JPN US$ 59.90
Super Swing Golf Pangya JPN US$ 59.90
Tamagotchi no Pika Pika Daito-ryo-! JPN US$ 59.90
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess JPN US$ 64.90
Wii Sports JPN US$ 49.90
Wing Island JPN US$ 59.90

Note: Most software releases have already arrived and are in stock. More supply is expected to arrive within the next 1-2 days. As it currently appears, there's no shortage on any software release. Please be reminded that some interesting titles are not among the launch lineup, such as Pokemon Battle Revolution and Bleach: Wii Shiraha Kirameku Rinbukyoku, which are both scheduled for a December 14th release.

Video Download: Odoru Made in Wario (3:46min)
Further Nintendo Wii™ preorders.
US Version Nintendo Wii™ software lineup.

The Nintendo Wii™ is region encoded. Japanese software only runs on Japanese consoles, while US software only plays back on US systems (read further below for more details).

Region encoding - Freeloader/Action Replay compatibility

To make it short, Nintendo Wii™ consoles and software are region encoded. We have tested a large variety of games from different publishers on our systems and are confident to confirm that a full region lockout exists. This applies to Nintendo Wii™ as well as Gamecube™ software alike.

Partially good news though for users that wish to play back import Gamecube™ games on their Wii™ system. Datel's Action Replay has been tested and allows playback of US/JPN Gamecube™ games on a foreign Wii™ system. Though we have read reports about older Freeloader versions to be running as well, the current version (1.06B) has been tested by us and is not working. An updated version of the Freeloader is likely to appear but we will post an update as soon as it happens.

Compatibility/Language Overview
Japanese Wii™ US Wii™
Wii™ Software NTSC/J only (Japan/Asia) NTSC/U/C only (USA/Canada)
GameCube™ Software NTSC/J only (Japan/Asia) NTSC/U/C only (USA/Canada)
Language Option Japanese only English, French, Spanish

Video Download: Action Replay works on Wii™ (0:53min)
Video Download: Japanese Wii™ doesn't like US games (0:12min)
Video Download: US Wii™ doesn't like Japanese games (0:12min)

Accessories compatibility

As likely for video game consoles, there's no region protection on accessories among different release versions. We have tested US version controllers on our Japanese system (and vice versa) and have not encountered any problems so far. Please be reminded however that you have to press the connect button on the system and the controller when assigning a new Wii™ Remote to your system (see images below for details).

For the first time since release of the Super Famicom™, the Nintendo Wii™ uses a different Multi AV cable standard. In other words, your Gamecube™, Nintendo64™ or even SNES/SFC cables won't work anymore.

Also note that the Japanese Wii™ point cards are only suitable for the Japanese Wii™ network (check out next topic for more details).

Virtual Console - Wii™ Points compatibility

As a disclaimer, the Japanese Wii™ network is not yet accessible, so we haven't fully been able to test all functions on the Japanese Wii™ system yet. However from the information we have been able to gather so far, it appears that you can only access the specific network that your Wii™ console has been designed for.

We have also tested Japanese version Wii™ Point Cards and can confirm that Japanese cards cannot be redeemed on a US Wii™ network.


Unlike the PlayStation3™ - which is region free for PS3™ games, supports multilingual onscreen text and allows you to connect to any regional PlayStation™ network (providing you have a valid residential address in the selected territory), the Nintendo Wii™ is fully region encoded in terms of Wii™/Gamecube™/Virtual Console playback and does not support multilingual onscreen text.

In other words, if you are considering purchasing a Japanese Wii™ system as substitution for a domestic system, recommends you to reconsider carefully as you will not be able to play domestic software releases. However if you are looking for a way to play unique Japanese Wii™ games (such as this week's released Odoru Made in Wario and Ennichi no Tatsujin or the upcoming Bleach: Wii Shiraha Kirameku Rinbukyoku) and want to take advantage of the Japanese Wii™ virtual console lineup, then a Japanese system will be the only way to go at the moment.

Appendix - Image Gallery & Video Downloads

Please use the right mouse button and click "save as" to store the videos to your hard drive.

Odoru Made in Wario (3:46min)
Action Replay works on Wii™ (0:53min)
Japanese Wii™ doesn't like US games (0:12min)
US Wii™ doesn't like Japanese games either (0:12min)
No Japanese Wii™ codes on US network (0:08min)

Screens and Videos and Much More at Play Asia