In order to join the Nintendo Network, the online service attached to the Nintendo Wii U, children under the age of 13 must have a parent or guardian pay a 50c fee via credit card in order to verify that they approve.
The measure is one of a variety of ploys companies have used to ensure they are in accordance with COPPA (the Child Online Privacy Protection Act), which ensures minors aren't signing up for services without permission.
According to the Wii U's Support section, the 50c fee need only be paid once: parents can set up subsequent child accounts with their Parental Control PIN. Credit card information isn't stored on the system, so children cannot make purchases--definitely a good move.
In other Wii U release news, the new firmware is available to download, but takes about an hour--during which users can't use the console. Of course, If you're keen to get playing right away, the firmware update is by no means required -- just set the console to download it overnight when you head to bed! Otherwise, just set it to download and take a walk or grab some snacks while it finishes.
The Wii U was released today in the U.S., and will be coming to Australia and Europe on November 30.
'Sup world! I'm an avid gamer, modder and game developer living in Melbourne, Australia with my partner and two cats. As is law here at Player Attack, I can't function without copious amounts of caffeine.
Jimmy the Geek