In a recent interview with Spike, Katsuya Eguchi, Nintendo’s designer, has said that the WiiU should not be sold at launch with a loss. They’re figuring out the right price for both the consumers and Nintendo.
“We’d like to avoid taking a loss on the hardware, so we’re gonna be seriously considering how it’s priced.”
Nintendo’s former consoles like the Gamecube, which launched at the price of $199.99 and the Wii, which was launched at $250, both had success with their launch pricing. But the WiiU is launching with both the PS3 and Xbox 360 reasonably priced, so it’s possible the WiiU might not sell as much as Nintendo’s past consoles did at launch; even if the price is great for the consumer. Another possible threat could also come from Nintendo themselves; the 3DS. The 3DS will also have some highly anticipated games in its library this holiday season when the Wii U is expected to launch, titles like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark of the Moon, Paper Mario: Sticker Stars and Epic Mickey 2: Power of Illusions. This could end up limiting the WiiU sales because people who haven’t bought a 3DS yet might buy it this holiday and won’t have enough money for both the 3DS and a WiiU.
Another thing Nintendo has to consider is the production costs of the WiiU. We don’t know how much the WiiU costs to produce, but after seeing the use of the WiiU gamepad, it looks to be using a lot of expensive technology. The price will probably be a high one if Nintendo is going to afford it, but if they release it too low, they’ll lose a lot.
We all know the PS3 was very expensive when it first launched at $599, but the PS3 cost $800 to produce. Sony was able to manage the losses because they were offering Blueray, something nobody else was doing, and something that everybody wanted. But even so, Sony had their problems because of the lack of sales with the PS3. Is Nintendo’s WiiU unique enough that people will decide they have to have it and choose it over the likely cheaper alternatives of the PS3, the Xbox 360, and the 3Ds? Or perhaps they’ll hang on to their Wii for a while longer and wait until there is an eventual price drop on the WiiU.
For now the price is a mystery and we can only wait until Nintendo reveals it later this year.