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 While it’s true that it’s specs are extremely outdated (especially compared to the newer consoles), the attractive price-point kind of made up for it at the time.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.
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.
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.