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Nintendo’s next-generation console, Wii, may launch earlier than expected as the company attempts to beat the PlayStation3 to market, according to reports.

Although Nintendo has never given an official date for the Wii launch, it was generally accepted that it would launch in the US at around the same time as the PS3, which is due to be released on November 17 in time for the holiday shopping season.

However Nintendo is already manufacturing the final retail units for Wii, according to a report from American Technology Research. This would indicate that a launch by October is planned, says the report.

With an estimated price tag of US$250, Wii will be significantly less expensive than the PS3, insiders say. Because the Xbox 360 is currently the only next-gen console on the market, an early launch would give Nintendo a significant advantage over Sony.

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