Wii U must be under $300 - Analyst

Wedbush's Michael Pachter says optimal price for Nintendo's new console is $250 or less, system lacks "killer app" to help drive system sales.

The Wii U must retail for under $300 at launch later this year, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told CVG. The industry watcher further explained that an optimal price for the system is $250 or less.

Only Nintendo knows just how much the Wii U will cost.

If the Wii U launches at $250, it will mirror the Wii, which went on sale during November 2006 in North America at that price point. Nintendo showed off the Wii U GamePad at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo last week and highlighted new games like Pikmin 3 and Lego City Undercover, but has yet to reveal a price for the system, which is due for a worldwide release this holiday season.

A report from April suggested the Wii U would cost more than $300 at launch. This estimate was based on a purported total cost of materials required to manufacture the Wii U console, as revealed by sources involved with manufacturing and distributing Nintendo products.

Pachter also spoke about the Wii U's GamePad, saying the new controller is "sufficiently novel and different from traditional controllers," but his praise for the system ended there. He said the Wii U lacks a "killer app" that will drive system sales in the way that the system-bundled Wii Sports did for the Wii.

The analyst also said he was confounded by some of the design choices for Wii U software. In particular, he leveled his criticisms at the newly announced Sing game from DJ Hero studio FreeStyle Games.

"At E3 I was not particularly impressed with many of the games, and in particular found Sing baffling," he said. "I don't understand why I need a tablet to read karaoke words rather than reading the words on the TV screen instead."

For more on Nintendo's E3 2012 announcements, check out GameSpot's coverage of the firm's marquee media briefing.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

268 comments
luqmanr
luqmanr

I think $350 for the Wii U including 1 gamepad + 2 pro controller would be great. But $300 only for the Wii U and gamepad is fair, I guess.

baal46
baal46

I played Wii Sports for about 3 months, and then I put it down. Never used the Wii again. It continues to sit idle in my entertainment center. There is no-freaking-way I will be buying another Nintendo console.

kinghorn316
kinghorn316

If the wii u is under 300 I will be over the moon

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

Wii = N64 like WiiU will = Game Cube

InfestedHunter
InfestedHunter

The economy is really bad right now. I can not pay 300 bucks for a game system. I have a kick ass computer that I am happy with. But I really would like to have this Wii-U since I do have a Wii that I never use. But I will can not buy this is its 300 or more.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

If they can sell it at 250$, good for them. Otherwise why would people buy it if they wait a year at most and get a next-gen console from either Microsoft or Sony. Lets be honest, like some industry veterans keep saying: Wii lives in it's own timeline.

paxis85
paxis85

i think the bigger joke is that when this hits europe it'll still cost us more than the equivalent of 300 dollars. seriously... what's the EU's freakin' problem with gamers... we don't have an industry on this side worth mentioning but the least they could do is remove customs taxes on gaming products...

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

The big question for Nintendo is whether or not the families that bought the Wii in droves are going to sign on for the WiiU. You will certainly get some mom and dad's who jump in because little Jimmy or Susie will be excited about the latest and greatest but I'm not sure how easily the casual gaming crowd is going to understand the tablet vs. the intiuitive motion control that was used with the Wii.  People won't buy it if they don't understand it.

Joser15
Joser15

Random thought but i think if they could pull off a game like deadspace 3 on the wii u that would be pretty awesome :)

rey2
rey2

Hope they learned their lesson with the 3DS.   The price drop back then propelled sales higher.   Around $250 would be acceptable but if it does go around the $300 mark, i'm gonna wait for a price drop. 

rushiosan
rushiosan

so, another console for $1000 coming to Brazil... great! -.-

mpeg3s
mpeg3s

It's going to be $349.99.

rarson
rarson

Duh. Pachter states the obvious. Nintendo knows this; there's no way they price it over $300. The real question is, will they price it at $250? They should. They'd probably take a loss on the hardware, but it would be worth it to move units and get a large install base.

SpiritWarStudio
SpiritWarStudio

What people don't realize is the Wii U isn't next-gen at all. Nintendo's using current-gen technology to appeal to people who couldn't care less about powerful technology. I bought the 3DS because I can't say I care too much about power and crisp resolution on the go, but a console should be all about power and resolution; in the end it helps sell software by pertaining to the best graphics on the market and keeps the gaming economy running smoothly, but Nintendo avoids this by releasing a console that will be the best for about a year then drastically fall when its opposing companies release consoles far beyond what Nintendo has shown us, just like the Wii, except the Wii was the last console to release in this generation's console wars, but it will be first in the next, giving Sony and Microsoft all the information they will need to make better systems. Why didn't they just wait until after the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 to release before releasing a weak product?

Schmurtin
Schmurtin

Well, I'm buying a WiiU, simply because of Zelda and Super Smash Brothers.

JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

Just announce the damn price already so I can know how many I can buy to re-sell on ebay.

Evanrocknuma
Evanrocknuma

I'm sold on the Wii-U even if it fails.  Not because of brand loyalty (haven't owned Nintendo since the 64) but I need some colorful games.  All this post-apocalyptic violent drab is starting to get to me.

maxguevera
maxguevera

It seems exciting now, but wait till this time next year when Sony and Microsoft show off their versions of the next gen. Save your shelf space I reckon.

Killer6b9
Killer6b9

well the WIIU has to be under $300 if they want me to buy it...........they have too much to prove before I would spend any more then that on a Nintendo system, which is sad cause growing up I would have spend anything to get my hands on the new system....

vatorus
vatorus

Yeah, the Wii sold alot but everyone in know with a Wii hasn't touched it since they got it.  It was nothing more than a gimmick.  Where's the motion control on the Wii U? I know it supports Wii games, but what happened to motion control?  There's no talk of it or promotion of it...gimmick...The Wii U will not sell like the Wii, it will fail because no one will shell out any money for a console that collects dust.

ekalbtwin
ekalbtwin

$350 is what I am guessing the new Wii U will come out at, and hopefully it will come with a a pack in game like the Wii did.  People seem to forget that even with the Wii's very weak sales now, it had already had this current gen in the bag after two and a half years and the biggest reason for that was Wii sports, fit and play.  Each of them has sold more than any of the killer apps that are on any other system (not counting PC).  I understand the hate the wii gets, but don't understand why such hates lets people lie to themselves that the Wii was a dud.  It did exactly what it was meant to do, make Nintendo a huge mountain of cash (and almost 100 million units sold).  We will just have to wait and see if the Wii U will do the same.

PS  and remember,  is Patcher that this article is talking about, so it has to be taken with a grain of salt. 

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

Your comparisons are terrible as the N64 had some of the greatest games of all time and in no way compares to the Wii. If the Wii equals the N64, then the Wii had plenty of excellent games, which is not true and in reality were few and far between. The N64 also made 3D gaming a reality in a time that 2D gaming was prominent, not to mention the fact that just about all of the 3D gaming interfaces we now see in current gaming are essentially just copies or modifications of the Super Mario 64 and Zelda Ocarina of Time engine/interfaces. Gaming as we know it would not be the same without the influence of the N64. Also, the Wii sold better than the N64, so the comparison fails again, on both levels. The systems you're comparing are also two generations apart. That doesn't make a lot of sense. The WiiU is also a completely different beast than the Gamecube, so the comparison again fails. I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say, but it seems like you're saying Nintendo is going to fail by comparing things back to older systems that didn't do so hot to a system that clearly has sold more systems than any other console this generation (baffling as that is). If that's the case, then the way you're comparing says that the WiiU is going to sell like crazy. Try again. You fail.

rarson
rarson

 @SpiritWarStudio

 

gen·er·a·tion

noun

1. the entire body of individuals born and living at about the same time

 

The word "generation" denotes division by time, not by other random metrics.The Wii U hardware will be decently powerful. If you're comparing it to the current consoles, it's clearly got more power than them. It's interesting that you note resolution, because the Wii U can actually render graphics at 1080p, which is something the current consoles can't do, so even if you're one of those people who defines console generations in terms of graphics, Wii U is still "next-gen." Sure, it won't have as much power as the newer Sony and Microsoft consoles, but I doubt many people will notice drastic differences. It'll also have a fairly substantial lead and a lower price point, which will have a pretty big impact. The tablet controller will be pretty revolutionary, too, if it's used effectively. That's a pretty big "if," I'll admit.

 

"Why didn't they just wait until after the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 before releasing a weak product?"

 

What sense would that make? Microsoft seems content to try to extend the life fo the 360 and Sony's not ready to launch a new console any time soon, so Nintendo can steal some thunder by releasing this year, competing with the older systems, and establishing a user base long before the other consoles launch, all while offering a better graphical experience than their competitors. It would make no sense to sit on the hardware until better competition is launched.

 

But the real reason Nintendo is launching now is the fact that Wii software sales are declining. Nintendo needs a boost, so they're capitalizing on the advantages they have. Besides, I think a lot of consumers are ready for new consoles. Personally, I'm not so much concerned about better graphics, but a better overall experience (insofar as the operation of the UI and integration of non-gaming features, updates, etc.).

SpiritWarStudio
SpiritWarStudio

Why didn't they just wait until after the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 before releasing a weak product?*

Flint247
Flint247

 @Evanrocknuma Agreed. I use my 360 for some mature games or games I can't get on a Nintendo platform and I use my Nintendo systems for the colorful games. It's actually a good balance.

charliezard
charliezard

 @Evanrocknuma This is the main reason that I own a 3DS. Every Xbox or PS3 game has the same dark, violent atmosphere. It's cool and all, but sometimes I need something more upbeat.

rarson
rarson

 @maxguevera

 

They'll surely be more powerful, but I think most people are overestimating the graphical difference. Back when polygons were new, things like texture mapping and gouraud shading were hugely noticeable. I can barely tell a difference between 1x and 16x anisotropic filtering.

 

The real concern is whether it supports DX11. I think that's a basic necessity, given that DirectX is the PC and Xbox standard, and that all the consoles will be using AMD GPUs. DX11 is mature by this point and well-established in the PC world, so to not support it would not only make ports more difficult, it would lack the basic feature set of PCs since the release of Windows 7 (three years ago).

SpiritWarStudio
SpiritWarStudio

 @maxguevera I would wait until next year to even consider buying a Wii U. I fear that Sony and Microsoft have much more powerful consoles coming that Nintendo would never see coming. Sure, after 7 years Nintendo finally releases an HD console barely capable at running 1080p on certain games when the tablet is not in use, but it's been rumored that the Sony's "Orbis" will be capable of running games in 4K (4096x2160). I'm not very good at math, but I'd say BY FAR, Sony has Nintendo beat already in the next generation console wars.

IAPrino
IAPrino

i see your point, however, MS and Sony are making sure to include that "gimmick" with their systems from now on.  Not to mention any smart phone or tablet you can find now-a-days also includes that "gimmick".  My kids and I play the Wii weekly, hell I play all of my current gen systems weekly, including 3DS.  I'm just saying that more people still play Wii, although it is a fad argument to say that no one plays Wii after they buy it.

crakrman
crakrman

 @vatorus

 I'm "in the know", and have a Wii and a PS3, and I play my Wii all the time.  I actually think I play my Wii more than the PS3 because I'm not into FPS's.

 

And motion control is still very much a part of Wii U.  The GamePad has gyros/accelerometers/etc itself.  Example... look at ZombiU and Lego City, when the players are holding the GamePad up and looking around their environment.  It's not as obvious as a Wiimote waggle, but you need motion control to make that happen, and probably a better use than the waggle.

 

Not paying attention?

hitman047m4
hitman047m4

 @vatorus I have a Wii, a PS3 and a 3DS (planning on getting a Vita and an XBox360) and they all get their share of gameplay. I have no issue with the Wii, and between my girlfriend and I, we have a decent game library  for the Wii.

 

Now, I do agree with your point that the WiiU might not sell as the Wii, since there were lots of gamers not happy with the lack of support the Wii had.... but I do not think the WiiU will fail, or at least I hope not. It might have a rocky start but I think more good news will come later on for the WiiU.

hitman047m4
hitman047m4

 @innocent69  yes, Nintendo stated that all your Wii games will run normally on the WiiU, as well as all of your old data from those games can be transferred to the new system. Unfortunately, there will be no more GameCube support, but they announced that they will plan to make the GameCube games available as downloads.

IAPrino
IAPrino

 @ekalbtwin I think the price will be 299.99 with NintendoLand bundled in.

kirye223
kirye223

 @ekalbtwin anything analysts say need to be taken with a grain of salt because that's their opinion and not the truth. it's not just for Pachter.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

 @FLEEBS to me the N64 and the originaly Sony Playstation are a dark era of gaming as the graphics were some of the hardest on the eyes ever .... ugly

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

 @emperor_mai commerce is bad and the world should get rid of it along with the way government is set and finally do away with nations .. one world with one set goal ... feed, cloth and take care of our fellow man

IAPrino
IAPrino

It is amazing that we are thinking the exact same thing. I think that Sony and MS will actually watch how Wii U does with sales and attach rate.  they are going to make stronger systems based upon what they feel is needed to out-perform the Wii U and to not take a loss.  IMO folks may be a bit disappointed.  Having said that I think Nintendo is smart as Sony and MS will most likely not release their systems until 2014, so Nintendo is going to have real success between launch and then, and possibly the first yr after.

Anyway, I totally agree with your take.

omenjamlord
omenjamlord

 @charliezard True words man, as much as I love Dead Space and Battlefield 3 online, Nintendo have that "lets take a step back and enjoy" what youre playing vibe, no stress and fun.

maxguevera
maxguevera

 @rarson Check out the Unreal 4 Demo. Looks amazing! Rumors are that Microsoft isn't going to make a system that can run those visuals which is why Cliff Blezinski has come out to try promote his new engine. Jack Trenton (PlayStation US) in a recent interview said that Sony is dedicated to the gamer and giving them the best possible experience with the best hardware, so I think PS4 is safe.

IAPrino
IAPrino

 @rarson You are right, and I believe Nintendo knows that.  I think it will be able to support DX11, and I even think that the UE4 engine is a real possibility.  We shall see, but I am confident in Nintendo.

rarson
rarson

 @SpiritWarStudio

 

"after 7 years Nintendo finally releases an HD console barely capable at running 1080p on certain games when the tablet is not in use"

 

What are you talking about?

 

"it's been rumored that the Sony's "Orbis" will be capable of running games in 4K"

 

Wrong. The rumor is that "Orbis" (I'm still not buying that name) is going to support 4K displays. Sure, it may run games in 4K, in the same way that the Xbox 360 and PS3 run games at 1080p: by upscaling. There's no way games will be rendering in anything other than 1080p, primarily because 4K displays aren't going to be anywhere NEAR mainstream until years after those consoles come out.

 

"I'm not very good at math, but I'd say BY FAR, Sony has Nintendo beat already in the next generation console wars."

 

The history of gaming is filled with "superior" consoles being defeated by "inferior" consoles, because software is what drives success, not hardware. Nintendo's challenge will be getting developers to utilize their hardware to its maximum potential, and if they can do that, they'll be fine. It's a mighty big "if" though.

IAPrino
IAPrino

Agree with you too.  Folks need to check out the Panoramic demo they showed.  That is not an easy thing to accomplish, but it is a great idea, that is not possible without motion control.  This idea would be great in may FPS, as it can make it more immersible.  Everyone calls these control types gimmicks, but why is everyone copying and trying to incorporate them?  If they were no good, no one would use them. 

IAPrino
IAPrino

I still have my Gamecube hooked up in the bedroom next to my PS3.

rarson
rarson

 @IAPrino

 

Yeah, Microsoft is already rumored to be using a midrange GPU which, while probably a bit faster than the Wii U, will likely not cost them as much to manufacture initially as the 360 did. Also, from what I've heard, Sony is rumored to have gone both ways in their console plans; they apparently had been considering a cost-effective console or an all-out monster. Last I heard, they were still going the all-out route, but I wouldn't be surprised if financial sense took over and they decided to go down the cost-effective route. Sony seems to be the farthest behind of the three, so I doubt it's out of the realm of possibility for them to change up their hardware at this stage, or possibly even after the Wii U releases, but I think Microsoft has already started producing dev kit hardware, so I doubt they'll change much from what they currently have.

 

Being the technological leader has almost never been a guarantee of success, especially back in the days when various companies were still new at software development (PC-Engine, Sega CD, 3DO, etc.). In fact, if you price the hardware too high, no one will buy it regardless of how good the software is. While everyone loves to expect monster hardware and chastise Nintendo for not chasing specs, the bottom line for consumers is usually the price, and to expect console manufacturers to continue producing new consoles that drive heavy losses is silly.

 

In fact, I'd rather buy a new console every 4 or 5 years for a couple hundred bucks than buy one every 7 or 8 years for $400. The Xbox 360 and PS3 are still being pushed because they were such huge initial losses. Had they been cost-effective, the two companies would surely be launching alongside Nintendo, if not before them.

 

I miss the old 5-year cycle. Perhaps I was conditioned by it, but I usually start wanting a new console by then. I usually wait a bit to buy them anyway, but I love seeing new hardware launch. Also, it's a lot harder for console hardware to keep up with the PC when manufacturers are trying to stretch them out this long.

rarson
rarson

 @IAPrino

 

I mainly want them to support DX11 for compatibility and to eschew the notion that the hardware isn't capable enough. It's bad enough that consumers already have this preconceived notion about the hardware, but if developers see that it doesn't even have a basic hardware set that was finalized a couple years ago, then they might not think it worth their time to develop for.

 

I'm not so sure about DX11 in the Wii U though. The hardware they're rumored to be using is DX10-class, and I doubt Nintendo will use Microsoft's API layer; surely they're going to choose to create their own. I would love to see them support DX11 though, because tons of developers are already familiar with it and the tools are already there... they'd just have to customize it a bit to develop games around the controller. Anything to make developers' lives easier is always sure to result in better games and more software support.

IAPrino
IAPrino

 @rarson That is a great point, and folks should take heed.  A lot of these ppl are assuming that Sony and MS are going to produce consoles that will rival PCs and that ain't happening!  Companies make games and consoles to make money.  Those type of uber-powerful systems will not make financial since, not to mention the software devs are already struggling to make viable games on today's systems, from a budget standpoint.  Nintendo's approach is a strategic one, and I think it is smart. Can you imagine the price of one of those games?!  Folks should remember that Sony and MS took losses on each system sold for the first few yrs while selling their systems for more thank Wii U is going to cost.

Good stuff.

rarson
rarson

 @IAPrino

 

Heh, my Dreamcast is currently hooked up to the big screen... I actually play that thing more than I play the 360!