Not even Reggie Fils-Aime knows for sure. On the Jimmy Fallon program last Friday, Reggie announced the the console wouldn't be available until next year here in the US. This after the company itself set a fiscal 2011 launch window, which basically means 'before the end of March 2011' Now it looks like that might not be se certain.
Nintendo of Japan, who apparently has a better handle on things, has discounted that statement and says that we might not have quite that long to wait, calling Fils-Aime "mistaken" -according to Kotaku.com sources.
In my mind, the whole thing makes a lot more sense as a global launch rather than a regional one. It's true that Nintendo has always been big on releasing first in it's home country of Japan, but I think that the landscape has changed so much that that kind of thinking just doesn't fit any more. North America is every bit the power in the video game industry that Japan is at this point- and you can make the case that Europe is right up there as well. If this was a simple game launch, I could see Japan first- but a new console is such a big deal... there's an impact that could be made with a global drop that would be a shame to miss out on.
Maybe it's just wishful thinking but if they have the hardware to cover it, (granted that might be a big 'if') then global is clearly the way to go. Nintendo's money printers would be in overdrive.
More to come-