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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Is the Wii U Priced Too High?

Nintendo finally delivered two key bits of information gamers had been waiting for with their big announcement this past Thursday in regards to the Wii U: a launch date and a price. The Big N has gone on record saying that the Wii U "won't be cheap." Nintendo consoles and handhelds have always been affordable but those words had me concerned for a while. In an age of HD consoles and higher tech specs, at $250 the Wii was the most cost friendly system when compared to the PS3 and 360's $600 and $500 price tags. My guess was that Nintendo's definition of expensive would be between $300 and $350 and I'm happy to have been right on that. The Wii U Basic Set will sell for $299, while the Deluxe Set will set you back $349. I honestly don't think that's too high a price for Nintendo's new baby. But I could be in the minority since I'm hearing a lot of talk of the Wii U's price point being too high.

As I already mentioned above, Nintendo consoles have always been easily obtainable at least in terms of money. The big exception was the 3DS, which launched at the insane price of $250. Maybe Nintendo was getting cocky with the success of the original DS, but the decision to price the 3DS so high came back to bite them hard. The result was one of the fastest price drops in the company's history, but it helped move more 3DS units and the system is doing far better in that respect.

I think the reason some are seeing the Wii U price as a high one is because no Nintendo console has exceeded the $300 mark until now. The SNES was $200 at launch as was the N64. The only reason the Wii cost what it did was because retailers put pressure on Nintendo to price it a bit higher and even then, it still wound up being insanely cheap. Now I know $300 and $350 is a lot to spend on anything especially during this global economic recession but if you think Sony and Micrsoft's next systems are going to be around the same price as the Wii U, you're fooling yourself. If anything, they'll probably be around, if not greater than what their predecessors cost. The Wii U will easily be the most affordable out of the three next gen consoles, which will once again see Nintendo make money off these things rather quickly.

For $350, you may as well get the Deluxe Set since you get more storage space and the pack in game Nintendo Land, which is sounding like it will be far meatier than your average mini game compilation. Yeah, 32GB isn't much hard drive space and I'm guessing Nintendo will come out with bigger external drives to feed or storage space needs, making more money off of us in the process. But I'm getting off topic.

Bottom line? I think we're very fortunate to see a console cost $300-$350 and at launch no less. Some are already speculating a quick price drop within a year or so, but I'm not so sure. Waiting is always an option, but for the first time in a long time, I'm going to be getting a Nintendo console on launch day.

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