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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wii U Details Released!

All right, here's the skinny from Nintendo on the Wii U launch.

  • The Wii U will be released on November 18th in two bundles: One for $299 and one for $349.
The $299 bundle is the "basic" model. It's white, has the GamePad, HDMI cable and AC adapter. The $349 bundle is the "deluxe" model. It's black, has the GamePad, charging cradle, HDMI cable, AC adapter and a copy of NintendoLand.

So is that too much for a console at launch? It's certainly Nintendo's most expensive launch yet. Let's look at previous launches. (All amounts are in US dollars.)

Console Year Price At Launch
NES 1985 $199
SNES 1991 $199
N64 1996 $199
Gamecube 2002 $199
Wii 2006 $249

That's been a rather sudden increase. It would appear that this is a horribly overpriced machine, and therefore it's doomed to fail and Microsoft retroactively wins the last generation, right?

Not so fast. Let's adjust these prices for inflation (http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/) and take another look

Console Year Price At Launch Adjusted for Inflation
NES 1985 $199 $425.82
SNES 1991 $199 $336.41
N64 1996 $199 $292.02
Gamecube 2002 $199 $258.86
Wii 2006 $249 $284.10

So when we look at it that way, the Wii U launch price looks downright reasonable, especially when you consider the tablet controller that comes with.
  • Nintendo is launching TVii.
Tvii is a free service that interacts with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, your DVR and live TV, helps you recommend other shows, enables you to catch clips and share them on Facebook, and displays information on your GamePad, like stats for live sports. That service is going to be free for either Basic or Deluxe users.

I really like this. Nintendo has been hesitant to jump in with TV services, but as we've seen with Nintendo, they don't really do something unless they're sure they can pull it off. Here's hoping this works out.
  • The games, of course, are the most important thing.
Nintendo has great third-party support for launch, with games like Black Ops 2 coming out. However, what worries me is the lack of strong first-party games at launch. I play Nintendo systems because I like Nintendo's games. I could care less about most third-party games, and I could care even less about Call of Duty games. Yet, Nintendo is offering New Super Mario Bros. Wii U and NintendoLand and that's really it. It gives me chilly flashbacks to the 3DS launch.

We'll see how everything shakes out, but I hope that Nintendo isn't setting themselves up for a 3DS-level crisis out of the gate.

_____________

More news is probably going to trickle out as time goes by, but as of right now, everything looks great. I probably won't be getting a Wii U because of my soon-to-be-born rugrat, but it looks like Nintendo has almost everything set up for a successful launch.