Monday, September 3, 2012

Rumor: Wii U Launching With $200 Price Tag?

A brand new rumor is spreading around the internet stating that Nintendo will launch the Wii U for $200.  The typical knee jerk reaction is that the news is simply there to grab attention before the actual launch information is released by Nintendo on September 13. I thought it would be fun to actually look at the validity of this rumor (This is currently a rumor and should be treated as such). Honestly, when looking at the launch history of every Nintendo home console, you begin to see that the price might not be that far off.  Nintendo has always prized its competitive, family friendly pricing and with the Wii U, that notion is more important than ever with 2013 unleashing not 1 but 2 brand new consoles that will carry a premium price for their advanced tech as well as 3 existing value priced consoles.  Here's a quick breakdown of the launch of every home console from Nintendo for roughly the last 30 years.
  • NES: $89.99 - $199.99 (Depending on which of the 4 "Sets" you decided to purchase)
  • SNES: $199.99 (Console, 2 Controllers and Mario World)
  • N64: $199.99 (Console and 1 Controller)
  • Gamecube: $199.99 (Console and 1 Controller)
  • Wii: $249.99 (Console, 1 Controller and Wii Sports)
  • Wii U: ???
This shows that with the exception of the Wii, no Nintendo home console has ever launched with a price over $200.  The Wii's price was affected by a variety of factors including a pack-in game, backwards compatibility and market competition that was priced well over $250 in 2006 making the Wii a value versus the Xbox 360 and PS3.  The Wii U is launching against 2 relatively inexpensive competitors with established audiences numbering in the millions.  Simply put, Nintendo has to come out swinging in order to get a good grasp on the market, especially after last year's overpriced 3DS launch.  The Wii U is packed with powerful but inexpensive technology and the Wii U gamepad is ultimately cheaper to produce based on the components and design of the device, it is basically the lower half of the 3DS without the actual processor components.  When everything is considered, a price point of $200 is entirely possible with a possible jump to $250 if there is some pack in software similar to Wii Sports.  We will know for sure during the Wii U event on September 13.

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