GameStop offering $699 Wii bundle Thursday

[UPDATE 2] Pricey "convenient package" includes $250 console and $449 of unnamed games and accessories; PS3 preorder plans still under wraps.

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[UPDATE 2] PLEASE NOTE: GameStop and EB Games are now listing details for the bundle at their online stores.

How badly do US gamers want a Wii? GameStop is thinking "very." Last night, the retailer and its subsidiary EB Games sent out a mass e-mail saying that, starting late on Thursday, gamers will be able to order the Wii from the two companies' online stores, GameStop.com and EBgames.com, in the form of an expensive bundle.

"This Thursday evening (CST), November 9, your opportunity to get in on the excitement arrives when the Wii Bundle becomes available for purchase online at GameStop.com," read the e-mail. "You'll get the best games, accessories, and more in one convenient package delivered right to your door--all for under $699 plus tax and handling." (Emphasis added.)

By itself, the Wii costs only $250 and comes with the Wiimote and Nunchuk controller, power and AV cords, sensor bar, stands, and Wii Sports. Given the GameStop Wii bundle's steep price, one would wonder what assortment of add-ons and games are worth around an extra $449. Apparently, the customer-service reps at GameStop are also wondering. "We don't know what the bundle contains," a rep told GameSpot. "We also don't know when they go on sale. We won't know until Thursday."

Catch number two is that there will only be a single Wii bundle to (not) choose from, unlike the Xbox 360 bundle assortment GameStop offered last year. "I can confirm there is only one bundle with the same games and accessories," said the same rep. "And no, we don't know what they are either."

Last but not least are a series of caveats all too familiar to console-launch veterans. "Quantities are extremely limited and there will be a limit of 1 Wii bundle per household, limited to US delivery only," read GameStop's e-mail. "Ordering a bundle does not guarantee shipment at launch and orders will be shipped on a first-come, first-serve basis. The bundle will be removed from the site as soon as we have reached our expected quota." The Wii launches in the US on November 19.

Gamers put off by the bundle's high price will only have one next-gen alternative on GameStop.com--the Xbox 360. "There are currently no [set] plans for a new PlayStation 3 pre-order program," the GameStop rep said. [UPDATE] A recording on the GameStop help line said that there was simply "no new information" available, implying the PS3 preorder plans were not currently available to the public. The company had offered a very limited number of unbundled PS3 and Wii preorders on a first-come-first-served basis at its retail outlets on the morning of October 10, all of which sold out within minutes. Confirmed preorders of Sony's console, which launches in the US on November 17, are currently fetching upwards of $1,500 on eBay.

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