CNN Money sees Wii launching as early as September [update 1]

The words of CNN Money's Chris Morris, which suggest a Wii launch in late September or early October, are certainly tantalizing and not entirely unrealistic. Getting the machine onto store shelves and into our loving, embarrassingly weak arms would give Nintendo a healthy lead on the PS3 and Microsoft's glut of holiday titles, not to mention the joy it would grant fans of intergalactic bounty hunters and pointy-eared archers. Morris cites an earlier analyst report by P.J. McNealy of American Technology Research which notes that Nintendo already began manufacturing final retail consoles on 21 June, providing ample time until a prospective September launch.

Further evidence comes in the less sturdy form of past release dates of Nintendo consoles, with only the Gamecube missing an October or September release window. Of course, if the Wii launches worldwide immediately, one would expect a strategy similar to that of the DS launch -- that one happened in November as well. While it's not entirely unfeasible, Morris' suggestion is still swathed in speculation. With no details available on manufacturing, Nintendo may have simply started up the production line early (if they did so at all) to avoid launch shortages which plagued the Xbox 360 and are sure to plague Sony's machine.

Unfortunately, it looks like the only words we can fully trust right now are the ones from official (and sober) Nintendo men and women.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

[Update 1: Nintendo has (predictably) put the kibosh on this one, with a spokesperson stating, "There's no change in our plan to release the console in the last quarter of this year."]