Note: [All opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange]
E3 is right around the corner and while I eagerly await and look forward to all of the conferences. I wont lie, I’m looking forward to Nintendo’s show the most this year. I think all eyes will be squarely on Nintendo this year after the debacle of last years E3. I kind of thought Sony and Microsoft phoned in their shows last year because they thought Nintendo was going to blow us all away, well that didn’t happen and we were left with an overall underwhelming E3. This year we are set to hear and see the final design of the Wii U, the price point, launch date and most importantly, the games for the console. We’ve heard a lot of rumors thus far about power and price points, it got me to thinking about what the most attractive price point would need to be in order to draw in the most people this holiday season?
I think there is little doubt that the Wii U will sell very well this year, people love new consoles and even though the Wii U probably wont be that much more powerful than the Xbox 360 or PS3, this is the first high definition console that Nintendo will be putting out and I think a lot of people are going to want the chance to play Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Starfox and Smash Brothers on an HD console. I was a little confused at first when we saw the tablet controller for the Wii U last year, but now that I’ve had time to process it, I can see that Nintendo is obviously going in the direction that a lot of people are using tablets in everyday life, so it’s a natural evolution.
The tablet controller is also involved in the biggest discussion when it comes to the Wii U’s price point. People seem to assume that because it looks like an iPad, that its going to cost the same amount. The thing is, we don’t really know much about it yet, we do know it doesn’t have a processor and probably wont have front and back touch screens, which will cut down on the cost significantly. I think we will have to ultimately wait and see what the final specs are for the tablet controller, but I suspect that the lack of actual state of the art technology inside of the controller is going to surprise a lot of people. I definitely think the tablet controller is an interesting concept, it has a ton of potential, but if I’ve learned anything from Nintendo it that they always sell new consoles for a profit and they don’t use cutting edge tech so that they can achieve that goal.
We don’t know for sure what is under the hood of the Wii U, but we are at least fairly certain that it’s not state of the art, its most likely tech that is a few years old, which will once again cut down on production costs. From the tech demos that we saw at last E3, the games did look pretty stunning and we’ve heard the Wii U is fully capable of running games in 1080p. One of the other things that will probably keep the cost down on the console is the lack of a hard drive built into the machine. While we don’t know for sure if the final design will offer a hard drive, or if perhaps Nintendo will offer a couple of different SKU’s, one with a HDD and one without. There are a lot of unknowns, but if they release the Wii U with built-in flash memory and it allows for people to use their own HDD’s, the price point could come down even more.
Personally, I love new consoles, it’s all very exciting and I get that kid at Christmas kind of feeling. I will end up getting the Wii U on release date simply because I usually purchase all the consoles at release date, but if I had to choose a perfect price point for me, it’d be between $249 and $299. Like it or not, a next-gen console going for that price point will sell a lot of consoles. I wont lie though, Nintendo could probably get away with launching the Wii U at a higher price point to start out with. New console launches are notorious for shortages and it will be a hot selling holiday item that a lot of people are going to want. If the stock is initially limited, Nintendo could very well jack up the price because they know it will sell anyway. They also know that there isn’t really any competition for a new console from Microsoft or Sony this year, so the ball is clearly in their court.
I think a solid launch lineup of first party Nintendo games, as well as full support of third party developers will go a long way in determining if the Wii U is going to be a success at launch. I actually do believe the Wii U will get the highest level of third party support since the Super Nintendo days. Even though we haven’t heard a lot about the final specs, we have heard from various developers that the Wii U is easy to develop for, that in and of itself will help make developing for it an easy decision for third party develops. If Nintendo can get games like Batman, Assassins Creed and something like a Metal Gear game, maybe even Metal Gear Solid Rising, I can see a lot of people becoming an early adopter.
At the end of the day this is mostly speculation, I know some people want to see what Nintendo has up its sleeves as far as an achievement system is concerned, I’m one of those people as well. I feel like a lot of core gamer’s love to have something to show for the hours that they sink into a game, and if Nintendo offered this in their next console, it could attract some very core gamer’s. I think the core crowd is also wanting to hear about Nintendo’s online service plan. No doubt the last few generations have been lackluster in the online department for Nintendo consoles. If Nintendo wants people to buy the Wii U, I think a solid online setup is even more important than a small price point at launch.
Let us know what the perfect price point for the Wii U would be for you personally in the comment section below and discuss in our community forums.