News Article

Wii U Price Cut Isn't in Nintendo's Plans

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Iwata: "I would like to make this point absolutely clear"

Following the announcement of the latest financial results for Nintendo, Satoru Iwata addressed a number of issues in a subsequent briefing, some of which we've already reported. Naturally, Wii U was a major part of the presentation, with data presented by the Nintendo President that showed an initial burst undermined by a rapid loss of momentum, leading to Nintendo projecting just one million worldwide sales between January and the end of March.

While the 3DS had a substantial price cut merely months after release, there's understandable resistance to taking that step with the new system. Satoru Iwata admitted that the "value" of the product needed enhancements from games and the upcoming system updates, stating clearly that the goal is to convince more consumers of why they should want a Wii U rather than simply cut the price.

While it was pointed out that, unlike in the case of Wii, it was difficult to instantly understand the appeal of Wii U, those who purchased it, although there are issues to be addressed, have shown a certain degree of satisfaction with our product value, but since its value by nature is something that takes time to appreciate and hence cannot be spread amongst society instantly, we have yet to communicate its value to the wider public. To put it another way, we delivered Wii U to those consumers who we thought would be the first to buy it, but information has not successfully been passed on to those consumers who we think will be the next people to buy it. This must be one big factor with which Wii U could not maintain its momentum.

People always try to compare the sales of Wii U with that of Wii, but the current situation is requiring us to focus upon how to reenergize Wii U sales irrespective of any comparisons with the previous platforms.

With Wii U, we have taken a rather resolute stance in pricing it below its manufacturing cost, so we are not planning to perform a markdown. I would like to make this point absolutely clear. We are putting our lessons from Nintendo 3DS to good use, as I have already publicly stated. However, given that it has now become clear that we have not yet fully communicated the value of our product, we will try to do so before the software lineup is enhanced and at the same time work to enrich the software lineup which could make consumers understand the appeal of Wii U.

It could be argued that the Wii U line-up due in the next few months, as well as further down the line, is meatier than that outlined for 3DS when it had its price cut. We are, of course, yet to see what third-party offerings are coming in the second half of 2013, and optimists will hope that some high-quality multi-platform releases will be joined by a few exclusives.

With Wii U currently struggling for momentum and it already being sold at a loss, what do you think about the issue of a price-cut now that it's been ruled out, for the time-being, by Nintendo? Let us know in the comments and poll below.

Do you think that the Wii U needs a price cut? (241 votes)

I think it's needed to boost the system

10%

Nintendo's right to resist, upcoming games will sell the system

65%

It'll need a price cut later in the year, regardless of games

17%

I'm not sure

8%

Please login to vote in this poll.

[via nintendo.co.jp, eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (77)

Everly

#1

Everly said:

Wait a minute....does that mean Patcher is wrong? Wow, I wonder what else he said that isn't true.

KingDunsparce

#2

KingDunsparce said:

A lot of people said they were waiting for games like Pikmin 3, so I think the Wii U will be fine.

Mahe

#4

Mahe said:

Cut price of console, sell more games. The games will bring the profit back in. They made the 3DS mistake again, poor launch selection and console too expensive.

TruenoGT

#5

TruenoGT said:

I think if Sony and Microsoft's next systems debut around the $3-400 mark and are substantially more powerful, Nintendo will have to react in some capacity. They just need to get more unique games out there in the meantime... Outside of a few exceptions, we've had ports and HD updates. Pikmin 3 will help, but I can't see it being a mainstream system seller.

Tate24

#6

Tate24 said:

Personal i think needs price cut specially with crashes and freezing issues am still hearing. Ill buy one once price is knock down! Nintendo haven't learnt anything. Knock down price and fly off shelf keep thinking people gonna pay full wack and you will see consoles sitting on shells instead people's homes:/.

cornishlee

#7

cornishlee said:

The absence of major first party games has clearly been a major factor in slow uptake but so also has been the absence of major multi-plat titles from the Wii U during the launch window. That fact alone has lent credence to claims of history repeating itself regards the continual absence of Nintendo's console from the platform lists of those titles over the last six years.

Nintendo is going some way now to try and get good exclusive games on the platform over the next 24 months. The support of major third party developers remains an issue.

Marios-love-child

#8

Marios-love-child said:

I do believe it was too expensive to begin with (especially here in the UK)

But i believe the main problem is advertising it, even now alot of people I speak to dont even know what a Wii U is

Also the fact that the Likes of Asda & Tescos dont even have a Wii U section

cornishlee

#9

cornishlee said:

@Marios-love-child
That's a problem too. Whenever I talk about it to anyone, they somehow miss the "U".

  • "So are you still enjoying your Wii?"

There's simply not a great awareness of the product outside of the internet driven video games community. Even in stores (and online) Wii U consoles, hardware and games get stacked in the "Wii" section.

Phle

#10

Phle said:

No price cut. The console isn't that expensive, actually, I think they could have started with a higher price. I mean, compare it to other types of electronics, like iPhone and a good big screen TV. Where I live you can buy 3 premium Wii U's for the price of one iPhone 5 and then you would still have money for a game. The games are the expensive part of enjoying the Wii U, not the console.

rjejr

#11

rjejr said:

I don't think any company ever is "planning" to lower the price until the day before they do. That goes for Nintendo w/ the 3DS - did anybody think to ask Iwata how long before they lowered the 3DS price they were "planning" on lowering it? How long did Apple "plan" to lower the original iPhone price?

There are lots of things Nintendo can do without technically lowering the price. Up the memory - 8 is embarrassing and 32 is insuffient for a "pro" model. . Allow more in store sales. Add an additional game - say NSMBU - into each package. Well maybe add NintnendoLand into the $299 Basic and NSMBU into the $349 Deluxe. Make a branded Pikmin 3 Wii U. Anybody ever notice how many different types of 3DS and 3DS XL colors and brands there are compared to the Wii and Wii U?

So I believe Iwata that they aren't "planning" on lowering the price just right now. Heck it's still Jan., even I wouldn't lower it until mid-March, but increasing the value might be tried first.

ueI

#12

ueI said:

Is a new bundle a possibility, in that case? The 3DS seems to get a new one every month (starting AFTER I bought mine D:), but the Wii spent the majority of 6 years bundled with Wii Sports. This might even be more important to me than price. I agree with rjejr on both accounts.

Schprocket

#13

Schprocket said:

Not buying a Wii U because of freezing issues is about as valid a reason as not travelling in aeroplanes because they crash.
If people pulled their heads out of their chicken-little backsides and actually put bad-news into perspective, things aren't that bad.
And again we see people with no idea of what goes into electronics claiming ridiculously low prices for what are still essentially vapour-ware consoles from MicroSony and thereby justifying the Wii U price as extortionate.
I thought all of this regurgitation of pure crapola had subsided but I see it's time for the next internet wave of disinformation-through-lack-of-thorough-investigation to roll in.... grrrrr....

diddybeats

#14

diddybeats said:

I love my wii u but its becoming more and more disheartening reading all the bad news day after day even if some of it is extremism.
My main concern is 3rd party support. Right now devs probably dont want to spend the extra time enhancing the Wii U versions over xbox and playstation due to the relative install base so even if a game could look much better or have great features on the wii U they will essentially be held back by the other versions.
Then the other part of this is that if the next Xbox/PS4 are significantly greater powered than the Wii U it will likely be left out for any multi plat releases.
I am looking forward to the games Nintendo announced and think they are working hard with partnerships etc but I don't see how they can win over the 3rd party support.

sonicriders

#15

sonicriders said:

Price cut not necessary, but seriously, I would love Nintendo to flat-out just come out and tell me why Wii U is the next console I'm going to buy: show me how the GamePad really revolutionizes gaming and makes it better, and tell me how service like Virtual Console, the eShop, and other things are bigger and most of all: BETTER. I want Nintendo to kind of organize it a bit; have it make sense to consumers.

Really, I think Wii U just needs an exclusive Sonic game and I'll buy it. XD

Peach64

#16

Peach64 said:

I don't think they need to drop the price. I really doubt many are holding off because its too expensive. If there's a 3D Mario this Christmas they'll shift a lot of consoles. Not Wii numbers, but still pretty good.

MarioKenny1992

#17

MarioKenny1992 said:

I don't think a price drop is needed either, they just need 3D Mario, Mario Kart, and other good games, and the console will sell like hotcakes! :D

Banker-Style

#18

Banker-Style said:

If they did drop each bundle by £50,the sales would pick up,but with quite a few games coming this year,I should think the Wii U will be fine.

But I do think the price of the games should be lowered.

Nareva

#19

Nareva said:

It's not time for a price cut and good to hear that from Iwata. Knowing a price cut is not forthcoming might spur those fence sitters to just pony up and buy it.

Scollurio

#20

Scollurio said:

  • lower price of digital downloads so they are 20% below retail
  • bring out the good games
  • start an awareness campaign getting the word out Wii U is NOT Wii
  • bring crossplay between Wii U and 3DS a la Monster Hunter
  • wait for release of MS and Sony thing, then ride on the wave of their high prices and weak launch lineup
  • price drop for Wii U OR higher internal memory for holiday business 2013

= Wii U saved, Iwata happy!
Simple.

C7_

#21

C7_ said:

It's priced completely fine, and if they get in the habit of price cutting things shortly after release they'll actually do worse in the long run because people will start to think that everything will get this massive price cut and wait.

What they really need to do is identify things that the WiiU can do that a Wii is known for being bad at, because I've met a lot of people who think it's just another Wii peripheral. You know, things like really good online (Nothing so far) and encouraging third-party developers to port to the WiiU and not hide behind the excuse of "We like it, but we can't think of a use for the gamepad so forget it."

I know games will eventually sell it as well, but they really need unique titles that aren't obvious. Every already knew there was going to be another 3D mario, mario kart, zelda, and smash bros., how about some original ip get the spotlight? Also, release dates are fantastic, they should try RELEASING SOME FOR TITLES ANNOUNCED YEARS AGO THAT ARE SUPPOSEDLY COMING SOON.

DrKarl

#24

DrKarl said:

The system is too expensive, and lacks a killer App.

Nintendoland, while great an all, isn't it. Neither is NSMBWU. Pikmin 3 may to the trick. Only time will tell.

Emaan

#26

Emaan said:

It just needs good games, and most importantly, for the concept to catch on and find its place in the market. The Wii U better not get a price cut, $300 at the lowest is reasonable given the value of what you get. Not to mention a price drop would be going the opposite direction of trying to return to profitability for Nintendo.

Birthday_Boy

#27

Birthday_Boy said:

This makes sense. Nintendo is simply worried that they could make a larger loss, considering the Wii U is already being sold as a loss. This doesn't surprise me.

AG_Awesome

#28

AG_Awesome said:

As a ps3 and 360 owner Nintendo should have done more to encourage people that already owned the third party games to rebuy them. Namely collections:

Darksiders should have been 1 & 2
Batman should have been asylum and city
COD could have been both black ops together
And most important mass effect should have been the trilogy.

Here's my mentality. Wii only owners would have had a chance to play games they never did on the 360/ps3. People like myself would have had a reason to switch over completely instead of just getting a more expensive version of a game I could already get cheaper on another system.

Azooooz

#30

Azooooz said:

Nintendo needs a better marketing for the Wii U. For instance, they need to advertise the Wii U to show the differences between it and its predecessor (Wii).

Dashtag

#31

Dashtag said:

@Scollurio... so... you're saying... make it so Nintendo should lose a ton of money? Doesn't really sound like a good plan to me.

Anyway, NLand and NSMBU are both great imo, much better than what 3DS offered at launch, and more great games are coming that'll boost sales. Just you watch, doubters.

Scollurio

#34

Scollurio said:

@3Dash I am saying Nintendo IS losing a ton of money. In the long run it WILL have a price drop. Every console EVER had at least one. So thats inevitable. All I am saying is if digital downloads would be cheaper they would sell like hotcakes. Look at steam, it doesn't look to me like people are losing money but getting MAD sales for games that are digital only.

Seriously Ive been a "customer" of the games industry for over 20 years and my arguments stand. More people would go digital and a digital game is bought in an instant impulse compared to getting the retail copy. From someone working in the industry I've heard "hard" marketing and packaging (that means in-store advertisement, TV ads, box, manual, etc...) is about a third of what a game developer earns on a game. So by lowering the price 20% they can make a saving of 33% per game. Sounds good to me.

blackjim

#36

blackjim said:

It's a bold move by Nintendo and I respect that. Everyone is telling them to drop the price but Nintendo holds their ground and is confident their games will boost the system.

gojiguy

#37

gojiguy said:

Well damn.

Price is certainly what is holding -me- back from picking one up.

Maybe Nintendo will offer more valuable bundles? I can play the waiting game for a long time... Nintendo, you have until summer!

Ryno

#38

Ryno said:

Nintendolife has done a better job marketing the Wii U than Nintendo has.

SLiM

#41

SLiM said:

I would already own a Wii U if the software was there. I'll pick one up as soon as the real first party Nintendo games come out :)

sector19

#42

sector19 said:

I think Nintendo is good at enduring and will have to, because without Nintendo videogames are not the same, I will buy a Wii U when time permits me.

Jukilum

#43

Jukilum said:

@gojiguy They have until Summer to do what? If they don't drop the price by then you're going to never buy the console at ell? That makes zero sense.

bluecat

#44

bluecat said:

"With Wii U, we have taken a rather resolute stance in pricing it below its manufacturing cost, so we are not planning to perform a markdown. I would like to make this point absolutely clear."

Wait, so does this mean it already is below its manufacturing cost or they are stating they will not price it below its manufacturing cost?

cornishlee

#45

cornishlee said:

@bluecat
It is already being sold below its manufacturing cost. They need to sell nearly two games on average, per console, before they make a profit.

AVahne

#47

AVahne said:

The console is already incredibly cheap. There are other far more expensive devices nowadays, yet no one complains about those.
And those basing value on system power: you know jack about Wii U's power. Even if Google search gives you all the numbers you want, you'll still know nothing. So stop trying to base value on power, freaking generic Internet cronies. That's what ye all are.

UnseatingKDawg

#49

UnseatingKDawg said:

Another reason the sales are down could be due to the economy around the world.

Dang. I was kinda hoping for at least a small cut so I wouldn't have to wait so long to get one. Oh well. It'll be more than worth the wait when I do get one.

AVahne

#50

AVahne said:

@diddybeats
Even if they were more powerful, it really wouldn't be by that much. Those won't be considered powerhouses in this day and age anyway. Mobile processors have been improving massively each year, which is something the majority of the gaming community refuse to believe, and PCs that can match what the new consoles are rumored to do are much cheaper to build nowadays, while also being capable of doing so much more things beyond gaming than consoles. If the new PS and XBox don't offer anything beyond increased power and blu-ray, then there's really no place for them in this era of gaming except in the homes of their fans.

NMH-TRI

#52

NMH-TRI said:

I love Nintendo and my Wii U, but I never see commercials. Sorry, but most folks do still watch TV. Gotta spend money to make money. I always see a flood of Xbox/PS commercials. Get with the program Nintendo of America!

cornishlee

#53

cornishlee said:

@Koto
As I understand it, that's how current costs translate to a per-unit basis.

Of course, upfront manufacturing costs meant that any per-unit price point will always be hypothetical and in reality a large number of units would have to be sold before break even is reached, let alone profit. That applies to any product, even one which is not sold as a loss leader. That's not really that question that was being asked though.

XCWarrior

#54

XCWarrior said:

No price cut needed. The big games are coming. I know you people have other games to play for now. So just hold tight. Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate March 19 is the day my Wii U will really see a ton of use.

mr_moobs

#55

mr_moobs said:

Games dont sell consoles anymore, advertising does.
Regardless of what Wii U will have on its console, without the right amount of advertising, promoting etc it wont compete with the nexbox or new playstation.

TheRealThanos

#56

TheRealThanos said:

@Koto
I'm in total agreement with what you've said.
All the numb skulls (was going to use a word ending with ots, but when I calmed down, I decided against it) on here need to take a step back and use their brain to understand that the Wii U is not expensive AT ALL, it is actually priced just right.
If you look at what you're getting for the price you pay it's great value and inflation wise the amount of money is on par with previous launch prices of Nintendo consoles.
What I'm saying with that is that either whiners will be whiners for whatever dumb ass reason or you people also thought the GameCube and the Wii were expensive at launch, which by the way they were NOT.

As for the Wii U compared to it's predecessor: it offers much improved graphics, better controls, larger storage on disc, off tv play, integration with tv on demand and so forth, and so forth.
Those points alone validate the increase in price of $299 for the standard Wii U set compared to the $249 Wii price.
It's such a small increase compared to what you get in return compared to the original Wii that it's actually almost ridiculous, and STILL people are complaining. F***ing un-be-lie-va-ble...
If I try to understand it, then all I can come up with is that comparisons are made with Xbox, Playstation or cost of the same hardware in PC's, otherwise it makes no sense, for all the reasons I mentioned before.
Just forget all other systems and compare the price of the Wii U to the ONLY thing that you SHOULD compare it to, and that is the original Wii.
If you do that, you will start to smile at the price just as much as I'm doing, because it's 200% worth it... :P

TheXboxHero

#57

TheXboxHero said:

Bring more games and BRING BASTION TO THE WII U, and I'll be super happy, though I am happy with Wii U right now.

AJWolfTill

#58

AJWolfTill said:

If the cost of the Wii U in the UK was the equivalent of the Usa, I would have bought one by now. Nintendo allowing retailers to name the prices hasn't done us many favours. But I will admit as much as I would love one there isn't yet a "system seller" out for me.

Moshugan

#63

Moshugan said:

I think Nintendo should hire fans to advertise the Wii U.
I'd be pretty enthusiastic to get the word out if there was a 10% discount pass in it for me on eShop or something like that, haha.

SCAR392

#64

SCAR392 said:

You guys are crazy. They're selling it cheaper than it costs to make. They're probably losing $20 each console, and they have no reason to sell dlc versions cheaper than physical copies, because you are paying for the game on the disc, not the case, box, and manual. There's a perfectly good electronic manual included in dlc versions of games, to show you how to jump in Mario. Games are on their way, and they are no doubt busting their asses to try and make all you fools happy. Saying they should stray from their business plans even further than they already are need to just save your money and spend it wisely instead of making things cheaper because of impulse buys. I saved tons of money for all my Wii U stuff at launch, because I knew what I was gonna get, and how much it would cost beforehand. There's a reason why they tell you a console's release date and cost before it comes out...

Zombie_Barioth

#66

Zombie_Barioth said:

The Wii U's price really isn't that bad, the basic model sits right around the same price as the other consoles or just $50 more and is only $50 more that the Wii was at launch.

Whats probably throwing people off is the start-up costs as a whole. The Wii U's price is fine by itself but after 1-2 games, additional storage, and extra controllers you can easily hit the $500 mark before taxes come into play. Yes you can save up but no matter which way you look at it thats still a huge chunk of cash to spend on a single purchase, especially on a luxury item. Money is tight so many people will likely opt to stretch their budget as much as possible.

SCAR392

#67

SCAR392 said:

Wii U will probably be way more affordable than the next PS and Xbox consoles, so if you guys are complaining about the price of this now, I can only imagine how painful it will be for the other consoles next gen.

Ima_Gerd

#70

Ima_Gerd said:

dont want a super entertainment nuclear bomb shelter hot air ballon 100 in one electronic device.

do like gamecube... play games or GTFO.

all that crap that i dont care about might justify the cost of the hardware but not the value of playing a blim blam Game, FOR ME.

unf.

stick that in your pocket and button it. Mister.

SCAR392

#71

SCAR392 said:

@Cesco
That's not even translatable between those 2 currency. I want a Wii U for FREE, but guess what, it's $350 + tax, and I got it anyway, plus some.

You guys are ridiculous. Nintendo knows what moneys doing in the economy more than you guys probably, without following stock and researching 'threats' constantly on google. Nintemdo knows the price it cost to make, and it is apparently more than they sell it for.

TheRealThanos

#72

TheRealThanos said:

@Cesco
You're totally off your rocker.
Sorry to say so, but you need to get real and FAST. You want a FAR better console than the original Wii to be cheaper than that console was at launch. Seriously? You should be smart enough to realize all by yourself how stupid and TOTALLY unrealistic that is. I personally think it's quite embarrassing that so many people around the WORLD think that such demands are righteous, so sadly you're not alone... :(

CharbroiledEwok

#73

CharbroiledEwok said:

@Scollurio: I think you hit the nail on the head. Excitement will be high for Sony/MS's next consoles...until everyone sees the launch line-up and prices. Sure, you'll have graphic whores willing to go broke for the visuals alone, but that doesn't describe the average consumer (esp., with the concept of "gaming value" being challenged by smartphones).

Suddenly, Nintendo will look far more lucrative... ;)

Kriedler

#74

Kriedler said:

But, see, Nintendo throws around the word "value" a lot. They put out something inferior, like consoles that are weaker than far older ones; that lack Bluray/DVD support (despite the fact that Reggie said "time spent on any other device is a missed opportunity"); games that would have wildly benefited with online play but lack it for no apparent reason; and charging full retail price for 1+ year old digital games online, then they say "but, you're not thinking of the VALUE."
Why is it a value? If I'm going to get less for more, they'd better give me a damn good reason.
I do love my Wii U, but it's a missed opportunity :P
Or several, rather...

NocturnalYoshi

#75

NocturnalYoshi said:

The Wii U price, I think is okay. The prices on the games, however, thats a whole different cup of tea. $60 for New super Mario Bros U, Thats rediculous!(And thats not including taxes, which where I am from, is a considerable amount extra) One of the many things I like about Nintendo was its better affordibility than sony and microsoft. The games are what need a price cut, not the console.

UnseatingKDawg

#76

UnseatingKDawg said:

@NocturnalYoshi: I hear you right there. I don't mind that the Wii U is more expensive - as I said, I'd like at least a small price cut, but what I'm aiming for is reachable, so it's not too big a deal - but I was a tad disappointed to hear that nearly all the games were bumped up $10. But, I guess this might be good in the long run - after all, the new Xbox and Playstation models might have their games going for $70 a pop.

DreamDrop

#77

DreamDrop said:

What does the WiiU need? Not just games.....these games:-

  • Conker's Bad Fur Day sequel
  • Starfox
  • F-Zero
  • Viewtiful Joe (preferably VJ 3 but that's near to impossible)
  • Pokemon Champions (collab of all the regions from Kanto to Unova)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 3
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Kirby
  • Kid Icarus
    etc...why are the ones mentioned earlier being ignored for years? I know Conker's studio and stuff is no more etc but can't someone buy the IP?

Seriously just look at that list, it can give heart-attack to Sony and MS. Nintendo...just do it right....we love Mario and Zelda but it's time to bring back F-Zero, Starfox etc...

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