Breaking News: Nintendo Wii Official Price - $249.99 in US

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Nintendo Wii Controller and AttachmentNintendo Wii Controller and AttachmentIn a surprise move, Nintendo announced that the official price of the Wii in the US will be $249.99, which is actually $50 or more than many were predicting. "There is one price, one configuration and one color -- the same white Nintendo uses in its Nintendo DS." It is also expected to ship November 19th worldwide.

This will no doubt be dissapointing to some (to put it mildly), as the low end Microsoft Xbox 360 is priced at $299.99 and may drop a bit lower by November (the low end PS3 is expected to be $399.99). We'll see as events unfold and do a more complete value comparison once all three systems are actually released, but Nintendo superficially at least is not really offering superior value over the competition with what the Wii comes with and what a second controller set and games cost.

"The Wiimote has a MSRP of $39.99 and the nunchuk has an MSRP of $19.99 -- they are sold separately."

"Wii points [similar to Microsoft points] will be used to purchase Virtual Console titles. 100 Wii Points equals a dollar, NES titles cost 500 points ($5), SNES titles 800 points ($8) and Nintendo 64 titles cost 1000 points ($10)."

"Citing a series of quotes from developers supporting the Wii, Fils-Aime points out that 30 titles will be available in the launch-window, with about half of them available on day one. They will, as reported, retail for $49.99 (ten bucks less than [most third party] Xbox 360 titles)."

Details here and here.

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Matt Barton
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It's over for Nintendo

Wow. This is really shocking. I can't believe Nintendo would be this foolish. How do they expect to compete at those price points? My guess is that most folks would gladly spend the extra $50 and get the Xbox 360. Even less comprehensible is why they're charging so much for their classic library "virtual console" titles. $8 for a "virtual" SNES title? Are they insane? The prices should be more like .99 for an NES title and $2 for an SNES, maybe $5 for N64. That way, at least Nintendo could leverage the nostalgia factor against the others.

All I can say is, Nintendo better hope that its developers can come up with truly innovative games utilizing those wacky controllers, or my guess is this will be the last new Nintendo console released in the US.

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Bill Loguidice
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Pricing and Nintendo

I don't think it's quite that dire, Matt, but their pricing does raise some eyebrows, including mine. They were trumpeting all along how they were going to be the console for the masses and have pricing to match, but they really didn't follow through with that. Their virtual games are the same price range as the Xbox Live arcade games and their boxed software is roughly the same. While it can be argued that the only truly usable Xbox 360 is the one for $499 (in fact, *I* would argue that), you are talking a console in the Wii that does not output hi-def, has games that will only be mostly widescreen (not cool for people with widescreen displays) and is on a generally reduced cost platform anyway (a beefed up Gamecube). $250 does not really add up. They also kind of cripple the multiplayer aspects of the system by charging so much for a usable second controller combination ($60 total).

Also, there's no good reason to tier NES, SNES and N64 games like they do. The price differential should be much lower. It's an artificial line that they drew just because one system is newer than the other and has a bit more code. At best there should only be a $2 difference between each of the virtualizations.

Again, I think Nintendo will do well, but like naming the thing "Wii", they're making things far more difficult for themselves than they have to be with the pricing that they're laying out there. At the very least it should leave them plenty of room for agressive price drops over time. (also, I do have to say kudos for including a few simple games as pack-ins, at least that's a plus in comparison to the competition (you only get light pack-in content with the $499 version of the 360)).

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
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Bill Loguidice
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What you get with a Japanese Wii

(why do I not like that subject line?) It's the same as what the US gets, less the "Wii Sports" pack-in...

According to Nintendo's Japanese website, this is what Japanese gamers will find in their Wii boxes on December 2nd:

* Wii hardware
* "Wiimote" controller and wrist strap (1)
* Nunchuck controller (1)
* Sensor bar
* Sensor bar stand
* A/V cable (unspecified connection)
* AC adaptor
* Hardware stand
* Hardware support plate (purpose of which remains unknown)
* 2 AA batteries

Note that Wii Sports will not be packed-in with the Japanese package -- rather, it will be sold separately on launch day for 4800 yen.

I *hope* that the Gamecube component cable works with the Wii or at the very least a component cable is made readily available at launch. I'll be pissed if I have to use composite! Also, I never dug the idea of that sensor bar on my TV...

On the other hand, it sounds like the online service and functionality, including Web browsing via Opera, will be very robust. Hopefully they do better than the friends code system present in the handheld DS though...

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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dragon57
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I think I will side with

I think I will side with Matt's comments at this point. I for one am very disappointed at the pricing. I have held off getting a 360 while waiting to see what Nintendo would do. I was really thinking I would pull the trigger on a Wii and wait for a 360. Now I am not so sure. I guess I will be waiting until after the Wii release to see how it all shakes out.

Oh well, back to Lady Bug on my CV :).

Fighter17 (not verified)
Guys....

$250 is noting compair to $250 back in 1991. Because of Inflation, 2006 $250 is cheaper than 1991's $250 value. Plus you're getting a free game out of it, so you shouldn't be complaning that much. It's a perfect price for Nintendo and for people who don't want to blow a lot just for a gaming comsole.

Bill Loguidice
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Of course the costs are

Of course the costs are relative, Fighter. That's why a $60 game today is "cheaper" than a $60 game during the Genesis/SNES days. But you still see $60 as more than $50. The point is not what Nintendo is charging - $250, $50 and $5 - $15 is all fair relatively speaking, but it's not what Nintendo implied. Nintendo implied less than $250, cheaper games, etc. As it is now, it's only slightly less than what's being offered on the 360. Nintendo obviously is doing this so they lose as little money as possible, if any, on the hardware, this time around. That's unfortunate as they could have continued their good vibes feelings of the past year or so (despite the "Wii" name foul-up) and really gotten people excited. As it is now, they just got people pissed off, which should not have been their goal after the "Wii" thing. Underpromise and overdeliver actually means something. In this case, they didn't overdeliver and probably over sold the promise of gaming for everyone.

Ultimately, this won't make much of a difference, but it does fascinate me to see the backlash over the Wii name when that was first announced and now the backlash over their standard pricing. Is it worth $250? Probably, if you take the offering as a whole. But then an Xbox 360 it can be argued is worth $499 for the "real" version using the same logic, and maybe even the high end PS3. It just puts the competition more into perspective - a better light - than say a $199 console and $40 games and uniform $5 - $10 downloads (really, tiering your pricing by generation is rather arbitrary, isn't it?).

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Matt Barton
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Relative Costs

Well, I suppose I can understand the price tiering system. My guess is that it cost much more to produce a game for the N64 than it did for the NES. I could very well be wrong on this point (I suppose it would also depend on the game in question). At any rate, the public would likely perceive an NES game as being worth less than an SNES. I'm sure the average gamer probably considers 32 superior to 16 and 8 bit.

Perhaps they could just charge different prices based on the game. Obviously a game like Super Mario Bros. 3 would probably sell better than an SNES title like "Home Improvement." The fact that you could get SM3 cheaper than a lame SNES game like Home Improvement shows the deficiency of this system.

At any rate, though, I think Nintendo has blundered at least twice. I don't have much problem with the name "Wii", simply because the name "Nintendo" is pretty silly to begin with. They could call it "Hello Kutie Kitten" and probably still do well if everything else was on-target. However, the price is too high in all regards--initial console investment, individual games, and virtual games. The *only* thing that can save this project at this point is the usual Nintendo licensed exclusives. I'm sure there are still legions of diehard Zelda fans out there who will buy anything with the word "Zelda" on it. But if the exclusives turn out to be anything but extraordinary, I can't see this sytem fairing much better for Nintendo than the Dreamcast did for Sega--and that was a much better system relatively speaking.

$20 is the most I'm generally willing to spend on a game. After that, it's not an impulse buy. There are just too many other things I'd rather have for $50, much less $60, than a new game. True, this regulates me to the bargain bin and somewhat older games, but yesterday's treasures have always been good enough for me.

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Seb
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Preview!
Seb
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Launch Details

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=10870

September 14, 2006

According to a New York Times report subsequently confirmed by independent reports in USA Today, Nintendo will be launching its Wii next-gen console in North and South America on Nov. 19 for a retail price of $250.

The console will be bundled with a copy of Wii Sports, which includes a multitude of different sports mini-games, including tennis, baseball, and golf, in one package.

The report by the Times' Seth Schiesel, which appeared online just before an official Nintendo of Japan press conference, also noted: "Nintendo intends to charge $50 for its Wii games, $10 less than the standard price for Xbox 360 titles and the same price generally charged for GameCube games."

In addition, it was revealed that around 30 classic games will be available for download from the Virtual Console service when the Wii is released, including "ones from the 'Zelda,' 'Mario' and 'Donkey Kong' franchises." Apparently, these downloadable titles will cost about $5 to $10 each, roughly in parity with those games offered via Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service.

At today's US press conference, Nintendo of America supplied further launch details, including launch title specifics. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Excite Truck and the bundled Wii Sports will represent the first party launch lineup, with the GameCube version of Twilight Princess pushed back until December.

A total of 30 Wii games are expected to be released by the end of the year, with roughly half of those available at launch at an MSRP of $49.99, with third party launch titles to include Call of Duty 3, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Need for Speed: Carbon, Madden 07, Elebits, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, Rayman: Raving Rabbids, and Splinter Cell: Double Agent.

As previously mentioned in the New York Times report, by the end of the year it's expected that 30 Virtual Console games will be available from both first and third party developers, and will be priced according to generation: 500 Wii Points for 8-bit NES games, 800 Points for 16-bit SNES titles, and 1,000 Points for Nintendo 64 games.

Points can be purchased for the Console at retail at $20 per 2,000 Points. A 'classic controller,' more akin to that of the SNES, will be released specifically for these retro games.

Twelve 'media channels' are expected to accompany the launch as well, including a photo channel, allowing players to browse digital photos stored on SD cards. Other channels include news and weather, updated continually through the console's online service, as well as an internet channel, giving full web browsing access via the Opera web browser, which will be available at an additional cost, and will include full Flash support.

Additionally, a 'Mii' channel will allow Wii users to create personalized 3D avatars that can populate your own, as well as your friends' consoles, and can be used as in-game avatars for certain software titles like Wii Sports.

Gamasutra will update this story with further specifics as they become available.

[UPDATE 3 - 8.00am PST: Official confirmation of launch details has been added from today's Nintendo of America press conference.]

Fighter17 (not verified)
For...

$50 bucks more you can get the cheap X360 package right? The cheap package doesn't even come with a free game, but the Wii package comes with a lots of stuff plus with a free game is a MUCH better deal than the X360 package.

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