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September 13th 2012 10:32 am

Could the Wii U's launch price spell trouble for the system?

At a press conference this morning Nintendo of America announced the release date and the price for the Wii U. The system launches November 18, which is perfect for catching the holiday shopping season (and in line with the release schedule for the original Wii), and two bundles were announced with two price points:
  • Basic: A white console, white gamepad, 8GB of memory for $299.99
  • Deluxe: A black console, black gamepad, 32GB of memory, charging cradle, gamepad and console stands, the Nintendo Land game plus entry into a special promotion program for $349.99
The original Wii launched in 2006 at the price point of $249.99 (bundled with Wii Sports, even), undercutting the prices of the year-old Xbox and the just-launching PlayStation 3. However, currently the cheapest Xbox bundle available now is $199.99 (and the most expensive is $399.99 and comes with a Kinect). The cheapest PlayStation 3 bundle is $249.99 (the most expensive is $299.99). So the Wii U isn't going to beat them on price, and only now is Nintendo adding the features we've come to expect from our home gaming consoles.

Traditionally the real factor in a system's success has been the games, but the Wii U's hasn't shown us any mind-blowing exclusives other than their stable of first-party games (we've previously discussed the Wii U's launch lineup here: gdgt.com­/discuss­/what­-do­-think­-of­-the­-wii­-u­-launch... ).

Even more troubling is that the system's biggest selling point, the Wii U GamePad, could come at a premium. While every system will come with one of the touchscreen tablet controllers, additional GamePads may cost up to half the system's price - between $100 and $150. So it's unlikely there will be any games that support more than one, and heaven help you if you break your GamePad.




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What's more odd is that the basic model doesn't come with a game, so if you're going to get the basic and a game (I'm guessing the cost is $50), then it makes no sense to get the basic model, since you'll be paying the same amount for the deluxe as buying a game and basic model separately unless you're bent on getting a white console. With both models priced the way they are, Nintendo is basically competing against itself here. One thing's for sure, there will be plenty of WiiU's in stock at these prices during launch.

I'd also like to question as to why Nintendo thinks it needs all these extra media features, Netflix and Hulu and whatnot. It's a serious question since those things probably added to the cost of the console. Would Nintendo have been better off leaving all that fluff out or is this a basic feature that everything with a screen needs to have now?
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I must have been sleeping when this was announced so I am going off of your post alone for my info. (Actually, I bet it was in Japan so I WAS sleeping)

I am worried about the GamePad, and where this console fits in.

Kids are rough on stuff. Whether its Wii-motes flying through TVs or scratching up the precious game discs, the GamePad needs to be durable. Its that simple. Maybe this console is targeted more towards the "hardcore" gamers which can take better care of their stuff.

As for where this fits in, I just don't think its appropriate to compare this console to the much older X360 and PS3, even if they are relatively similar in features. I also don't feel like you can compare it against unannounced successors to those consoles.

They are getting it into houses at $299, and perhaps enough people needing their Mario fix will buy this.

EDIT: I would also like you point out the original Wii came with a game (Wii Sports) at the $250 price point
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No Wiimotes on the bundles? That won't be good for someone who doesn't have a Wii or have just sold their Wii.
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Yeah, I'll edit the post to mention Wii Sports.
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So Gamestop is offering a $60 credit for trading in the Wii Console towards a Wii U. Am I the only one that thinks this is an awful deal?

Maybe it's cause I am heavily invested in the Wii Virtual Console :D
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I would have much rather seen Nintendo sell an HD Wii as a stand-alone unit and market the Wii U controller in a similar fashion as the Wii Fit board. I don't want to hold something that large while playing a game and I certainly don't like that whatever experience is gained through that peripheral is not shared with the other people in the room playing with me. If Nintendo wanted to push this second screen idea they should have just used the DS instead of this stand alone controller (which I certainly wouldn't buy multiple of).
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I have been a fan and purchaser of Nintendo since the olden days. I have a feeling of dread since the first previews of the WiiU. The big N has NEVER been about the main hardware but about great fun games and innovating new controller tech. Most of the games shown do not look remotely fun and very blah re-hashes and the tablet controller seems very lackluster compared to even cheap no-name tablets on the market. Compared to what Microsoft and Sony has brewing for next year... I think this may be the Nintendo version of the dreamcast.
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