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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Bill Loguidice
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Comparative Next Generation Console Value

The Wii comes with "Wii sports" as the only "free" thing, Fighter. The point is, the Wii does things that the Xbox 360 and PS3 don't do, while the same can be said for the other two versus the Wii. If you look clinically at what we each of the three offers, my only real point here is that at $250, the Wii is not a clear cut better value like it could have been at a lower price point, particularly since the games and downloads will also be roughly comparable and the controllers are the same or more in cost. It's a more level playing field than it could have been. Now someone could turn around and say they don't need the "gimmick" Wii controller or they don't need Blu-Ray on the PS3 or any number of other things about each of the systems, tilting one to their favor over the other or others, but that's personal preference, not cost.

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Matt Barton
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Price Points

One point is obvious, and I don't think anyone can really argue about it here. If the Wii was selling for $200, and the games were capped at $40, and the Nintendo vintage library was selling for $5 a game across all platforms (I'd like to see more of a Game Tap like service, but oh well), then the Wii would be a no-holds barred, definite value. Indeed, I'd probably consider it a must-buy and buy one myself. Even if Nintendo was losing some money on the console, they'd definitely make up for it with the game licensing and the Nintendo classic purchases.

Now, however, what do you have? We're all staring very closely at the numbers and trying very hard to determine if the Wii is really a value at all.

To put it bluntly, if there's no clear bargain being offered by Nintendo for the Wii, consumers will go for Xbox 360, free game or not. I think history shows pretty plainly that you don't have to include a good pack-in game to sell a console. For me, a free sports game would actually be a turn-off, since I never play sports games. Rumors will start to fly that the Wii's hardware is primitive compared to the Xbox, and that'll be the end of it for Joe Consumer. Pay the extra cash and get a "real console."

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Bill Loguidice
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Wii Sports and Wii remote (Wii-mote, Wiimote) accuracy

Frankly, I don't think the addition of Wii sports adds much actual cost to the console and probably doesn't lose Nintendo many sales over having it as a stand-alone product. I think like "Solitaire" with the first versions of Windows being there to help people practice using a mouse, I think "Wii Sports" is there to teach gamers how to use the Wii remote in various ways. It's also obviously not sports in the traditional sense, more like a collection of sports-themed classic arcade style mini-games. To me, it's neither a bonus nor a negative and certainly seems to be a sensible pack-in.

What is concerning me more are the reports that the Wii remote is not completely accurate, which has been my fear from the beginning. I have many of these sensing videogame devices and they're all imperfect. Nothing virtual will likely ever be as accurate as actually pressing a button or moving a stick. Hopefully good design takes advantage of the Wii remote rather than highlighting the deficiences of the technology. That's all that really matters in the end anyway.

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

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Fighter17 (not verified)
And.

You can't trust those Wireless controllers as well. I don't care how good they are, they still want me to buy extra batteries.

Bill Loguidice
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Extra batteries, Fighter?

Extra batteries, Fighter? Let's take the 360 Wireless controllers for instance. They come with little pop-on rechargable battery packs, packs for AA batteries and can be recharged through the plug-in USB cable, as well as can be used as a wired controlled with that same USB cable. Problems with that? The accuracy is spot-on, of course. There's a difference between sending a wireless signal and trying to sense a virtual position. A big difference.

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

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forcefield58
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Wireless Controllers

I too "thought" that the wireless controllers would be less accurate than their wired counterparts, but, as you state, I was wrong. I'm very, very impressed with the Xbox 360 wireless controllers. I even scrunch up in my lazy boy chair and the signal gets through with no problem. The batteries seem to last about 30 hours before needing to be changed, so I'm happy with that as well.

I'm still skeptical about the Wii controllers, but hey, I'll try them out as I "need" to have that system so I can play Metroid Prime 3.

Cheers

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Matt Barton
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Virtual Controller?

Bill, it could be the combination of intense pain and codeine (I'm trying to survive a wisdom tooth crisis until my dentist's appt Wednesday!!), but I just don't understand what the term "virtual controller" really means. Can someone explain this concept?

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Bill Loguidice
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"Virtualization", "Virtual

"Virtualization", "Virtual Control", they're just terms I made up to describe what I was trying to get across. The ultimate type of virtualization is something like the Sony EyeToy (PS2) and GoGo TV console, where there's a camera placed on top of your television and in most cases the only control are your body movements. You're not pressing a button, you're not moving a stick, you're moving your body. These movements are detected as best as they can be and then translated to something happening on the screen. This is as opposed to traditional control where you press a button or move a stick and a relay translates exactly what you did to the console. There's no real interpretation, there's no guesswork. You move right, it immediately picks up that you moved right. With virtual control, it assumes as best it can that you want to move right through a form of triangulation and differences in light and color.

In between those two extremes are systems like the Xavix XaviXPort or the Nintendo Wii (and also the GoGo TV), where you use a physical prop or controller that you move in 3D space. There is enough technology for the physical controller to have its own intelligence to accurately relay button presses and stick movements and even acceleration, but the target system still has to determine the location that the controller is in 3D space, which again is an approximation. So while pressing a button on the Wii remote for instance will get you an instant response, moving the whole remote left and right with your arm gets that information approximately translated to the Wii system. The system tracks the controller as best it can, but without a 360 degree point of reference, it's not going to be "perfect" as if you moved a control stick left and right, nor as immediate.

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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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A Gyration Mouse?

So, you'd consider my Gyration mouse a "virtual controller," since it uses internal gyroscopes to allow you to move a mouse pointer just by flicking your wrist around in the air?

I've been meaning to write a review of this mouse for some time. I haven't really tried to use it for many games (except for point and click games), but it might be interesting to try it out just to see what would happen. I've always thought it would make a fantastic controller for a fishing game (it is even shaped somewhat like a reel).

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Bill Loguidice
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Gyration Mouse and others

Yes, I believe products like the Gyration Mouse fall into that middle category like the Wii-mote, while a device like the virtual/projection keyboard, shown here: http://www.millennia-3.com/virtualdevices/index2.htm , falls more into the full-blown virtual category, a la the Eye Toy. Again, regular mice and keyboards, even wireless ones, are purely traditional.

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

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