Why a Wii U Price Drop Needs to Happen

Anyone that owns a Wii U can proclaim without a doubt that it’s a fantastic system. There are a few great games for it, an awesome (if underused) tablet-like controller, and the virtual console, which will always be one of Nintendo’s best kept exclusive feature. The problem is that the Wii U doesn’t get much love by the gaming world. Most view it as a inferior console. While it’s true that it’s specs are extremely outdated (especially compared to the newer consoles), the attractive price-point kind of made up for it at the time. However, things are about to change soon. The PlayStation 4 is about to release for a retail price of $399.99. Let’s face it, the basic Wii U model at $299.99 is not worth it. 4GB of memory is laughable. At $349.99, the deluxe model is only $50 cheaper than a brand spanking new PS4. There’s no way consumers are gonna opt for the Wii U when they can buy a powerful true next-gen machine for just a few more dollars.

The gamepad rocks but it doesn't seem to attract customers.
The GamePad rocks, but it doesn’t seem to attract customers.

Third party support is dropping left and right. Everyday you hear news of another company either cancelling it’s Wii U support, or dropping high profile exclusives on other systems. First it was Rayman Legends, one of the only big guns that was supposed to hit the Wii U in Q1, then Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut got the same treatment, a once Wii U exclusive now hitting every other system. EA doesn’t seem to have one single title in development while Square-Enix announced Kingdom Hearts 3 for everything but the Wii U. That’s another reason why the price needs to drop, Nintendo absolutely needs to sell more Wii U’s if they ever hope to gain support back.

While it’s absolutely true that the 3DS faced a similar situation at first, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Wii U will be a great comeback story as well. The 3DS got a truckload of quality titles and never let go since. The Wii U seems to be on the right track with Pikmin 3, Zelda HD, Super Mario 3D World and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze all hitting before the end of the year. With Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Brothers Wii U also set for 2014 releases, the future seems bright. However, without third party support, you can be sure that we will see many more game droughts with next to no new releases like Wii U owners have been experiencing since launch.

Will 3D World have the same impact?
Will 3D World have the same impact?

The biggest issue Nintendo seems to be forgetting is the following. While Nintendo hopes that the Wii U’s upcoming triple A titles will help detonate sales like it did with the 3DS, they are negating one major fact. The 3DS also received an $80 price drop months before the quality titles started pouring in. Without a similar incentive, the Wii U seems doomed. Sure it will indeed move some units this holiday season. It has arguably the best lineup of games in the last quarter of 2013, but with a simple $50 drop, bringing both SKUs down to $249.99 and $299.99 respectively, Nintendo could make a much bigger impact. Not only would they have all the killer games that would sell systems, they would also draw in a large number of consumers with an attractive price point. This simply needs to happen!

However, it seems less likely every day that Nintendo will even consider a reduction of price. This worries me as Nintendo has never had so much trouble with a console before. Third party support is at an all time low, and the system’s sales are far from impressive (As of March 31, 3.45 million units were shipped worldwide, not sold). As a Wii U owner, I fully understand the potential of the system. The problem is, if things go on like this, the Wii U could be dead by early 2015. That’s why something drastic needs to be done in time for the holidays, and a price drop seems like the only logistic step.

5 thoughts on “Why a Wii U Price Drop Needs to Happen”

  1. Nintendo is in an interesting position because while the 3DS price drop helped a ton, it was a PR disaster for them. They can’t afford to price drop the Wii U similarly because they need to reward us early buyers with a compensation. Additionally, since day 1 they’ve said that they will never drop the price suddenly even before Sony and Microsoft announced their prices. They so far have kept their word and can’t turn back on it because they’ll look like fools and too desperate.

    What they can do, however, is offer alternatives while keeping those same 300-350 price points. Offer more values in their bundles. Right now, retailers are hinting that the 8GB models will be gone, so it’s their advantage to shift it around. Offer the 32GB with no game for 300$, and for 350$ the same model plus one of their big AAAs. Replace Nintendoland with Pikmin 3, or The Wind Waker HD or Mario 3D Land. In turn, they have avoided a price drop but increased their value with the current prices, abd avoided the PR nightmare that the 3DS had.

  2. It’s too late for the Wii U. Now more than ever, Nintendo will have to rely on first party games and their loyal hard core fans if they want to survive in the console world.

    Like you pointed out, sales aren’t there and Third party publishers are already confirming they will no longer support it. The big reason behind this is not only sale numbers but also cost to develop for the system. The architecture is very different from PS3/X360 and that is true for PS4/X1 as well. So think about it, you’re a publisher, you have to pay extra dev time to get your product out on the Wii U and the sales guarantee you won’t be close to making that money back.

    Releasing a system that fits in between 2 generations and too different was a decision I’ll never understand from Nintendo.

  3. At this point in time I honestly don’t know what Nintendo can do. They’re going to have a killer line-up of titles later this year, but it’s everything else that’s against them. $350 is just too close to the PS4’s asking price. I really thought they would have done away with the $300 model and replaced it with the $350 model. That at least would have made sense, and been a better incentive. We’ll have to see how this goes, but they’ve only managed to sell around 3 to 3.5 million units without any competition at all. What will happen once that competition starts?

    1. I’m almost sure that they will shift things around the closer we get to the holidays. Makes no sense for them to alter things now as there’s nothing out for the it yet except for Game & Wario and Super Luigi in a few days. Even if they drop the price now, they won’t move any units faster because of the software drought. By the time Pikmin and The Wind Waker roll along, whatever announcements they’re willing to make will be made then. It technically will not be a price drop though, and they’ll likely avoid that term so they can avoid a PR disaster. What it’ll be is as explained above; keep the core prices but offer more value to them via bundles and cancelling the 8GB model all together.

  4. Yeah Ahmed I’m hoping they do make adjustments. At this point even if they did lower the price of the conse I doubt it would cause too many people to flip out as a $50 reduction is less than the $80 the 3DS had and the whole industry was counting on it. Timing is very important here.

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