Although the company, which also makes Game Boy and Nintendo DS handheld machines, had promised Wii for sometime, it appears to have avoided the embarrassing delays announced recently by rival Sony.

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president, said overseas sales and prices would be "very close" to those for Japan but would not be disclosed until later in the year.

Wii, pronounced "we" and named to conjure the idea of fun for everyone, will be going head-to-head against PlayStation 3, the upgrade from industry-leader Sony.

Iwata said: "We want to propose a new lifestyle with Wii. We want everyone in the family to play with it everyday."

PlayStation plagued

The Nintendo console is considerably cheaper than PlayStation 3, which is set to sell for between $499 and $599, depending on features.

More critically, the launch of PlayStation 3, initially planned for earlier this year, has been postponed twice.

The decision to delay PlayStation 3 in Europe for four months until March 2007 was announced last week.

Plans were unchanged for US and Japan sales, but far fewer consoles are expected to be provided at launch.

About 400,000 PlayStation 3 machines will be available when they go on sale in the US on November 17, and 100,000 on November 11 in Japan.

Wireless wand

Instead of old-style remote controls with complex buttons, Wii has a wireless wand-like remote control that can be swung around like a tennis racket or a baton for conducting a virtual orchestra.

In a demonstration on Thursday, Nintendo revealed that the console will also come with an internet browser, and can be used to look at and edit digital photos on a television monitor.

Wii can also be used to get weather forecasts and news reports, features that are meant to widen the machine's appeal to people not used to games.

Games for older Nintendo consoles will be offered as downloads.