Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Wii U Problems

I'm going to start this off by saying I absolutely love my Wii U. I don't regret the purchase at all, and I've played some great games on the system so far. I think the Game Pad offers some great new ways to interact with games, and at the very least, being able to play games off screen in the TV is being used is amazing. That being said, I understand why Nintendo is having a crap time selling them. Their latest financial report showed they only sold 160,000 units in the last 3 months. That's bad. They actually sold more Wii systems over that same time period. It's understandable though, for a couple of very simple reasons.

The first, price. The Wii U Deluxe bundle is $350, only has a 32 GB hard drive, and compared to the much more powerful PS4 that's coming in at $400 in a couple of months, it's not a great bargain. Nintendo shot themselves in the foot with the high price of the 3DS, and now people are expecting a similar price drop for the Wii U. I know people that are holding out anticipating a price drop, and I think even dropping the price by $50 could do a lot for Nintendo's public image. $50 cheaper than a much more powerful system doesn't entice many people to buy. $100 cheaper could give the Wii U the same kind of advantage with younger audiences whose parents just want a babysitter for their kids and will go with the cheapest option. The PS4, as it stands now, is worth the $50 for a Bluray player alone. $100 cheaper could also mean core gamers won't have a problem picking it up as a secondary system just for the Nintendo exclusives, which leads in to my next point...

GAMES! Bloody hell I've been making the most out of any Wii U game I've picked up. New games are coming, but not much that will entice people to pick up the game until later in the fall. There are some cool games coming out in the next couple of weeks, and I know I'm excited for Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101, but I don't think they're system selling games. However, a price drop now could make some people, like the many people I know that are waiting for either a price drop or Super Smash Bros (or both) pick up the system now, just to make sure they get one before the holiday rush, and they'll likely pick up a few games as well, helping software sales and showing third parties that developing for the Wii U isn't a losing battle.

Nintendo has stated before that they sell Wii U at a loss. That's not uncommon for game systems, for anyone that doesn't know, because they eventually bring the costs of technology down and recoup their costs with licensing fees and volume over time. Nintendo isn't used to selling systems at a loss, but they've also said they recoup the cost if they sell one game with the system. Dropping the price a bit will make their loss per system a little worse, but with a lot of great looking games coming out over the next few months, there's little chance they won't be selling 1, 2, or even 3 games per system. They just have to get the system in people's homes. Hell, they could even do a fall promo. Buy and register two games, get $10 eShop credit for free. This kind of thing could not only encourage people to pick up multiple games, but also encourage them to try out the digital games on the eShop or Virtual Console, helping bring indie developers to the systems, or showing off how great older games play on the Game Pad.

I think the Wii U has a lot of potential, and I hate seeing poor sales due to Nintendo being stubborn on a price point that seemed high before the PS4 was announced, and now just seems ridiculous. Learn from the 3DS. It's arguably the best system out there right now, but it had to get past its growing pains, horrid sales, and a massive price drop to get there.

I don't think the Wii U's price needs to drop that much, $50 should work, $100 would be a no-brainer. What do you think? If you haven't picked up a Wii U, what would encourage you to do so, if anything?

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