Round Table: Let's Talk About the 2DS and Wii U Price Cut
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Tom: Moving on, what were your initial reactions to the Wii U price cut?
Stephen: Am I an ambassador again?
Marcel: Honestly, I thought it was a bit overdue, I expected it months ago.
Ken: Overdue, but welcome. I don't think it'll do as much as they think it will for sales in all honesty.
Gaz: I got out a very short timer and timed how long it took for someone to demand free stuff because they chose to buy the system last year. It took all of 3 seconds.
Tom: Yeah, the 3DS price cut was quicker and deeper, very different scenario.
Morgan: Well, I bought the Basic Wii U, and I'm kinda surprised they didn't drop that one in kind. Still, I think it'll help; $299 looks significantly cheaper than the PS4's $399, whereas $349 seems comparable.
Gaz: It's not a huge price cut, but it puts it safely away from being close to the PS4. Now at Christmas it becomes the cheapest option by a margin, and that's got to help sales.
Stephen: It just reminded me of the 3DS a whole lot. Back then people felt burned with the lineup as well, and this drop was inevitable.
Marcel: Aren't they discontinuing the basic model?
Tom: Pretty much, they're just not replacing ones that are sold, from what I can gather. A white 32GB model will fill the gap. Calling it now, bundled with Super Mario 3D World.
Andy: I think the price cut is a good strategy going into the holiday season, it positions the system well against the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I think a lot of families will pick up a Wii U this Christmas, it's got the games and is the sort of system that will go down brilliantly on Christmas Day.
Ron: I was pretty unfazed by the Wii U price drop. It was a minimal cut, but I think it'll help. Also, to the people complaining about being an early adopter: That's exactly the risk that you're taking. Nintendo didn't have to do anything for 3DS owners when they dropped that price, but they did and it was great. The Wii U has already been out for a year and it was just time.
Morgan: Oh man, launch-day-Morgan would've loved a white 32gb bundle.
Gaz: I still want a 32GB white model... every time I use the black one I die a little inside.
Morgan: The .30 Virtual Console games definitely felt like an Ambassador Program-lite!
Andy: I got to play Wii U for nearly a year before it dropped, plus I got a load of Virtual Console titles for 30p each, I really don't need free stuff to compensate me.
Gaz: The 30p VC games was one of the reasons I ultimately got a Wii U when I did, it was a great deal.
Stephen: Despite my ambassador thoughts, I think Ron is way on point. The Wii U has always been strange, and now that the price is lower, that still doesn't guarantee a bunch of awesome games. It's time for that software to make a convincing argument by Christmas!
Ron: Good call, Morgan. People just like to complain about not getting something for nothing. Enjoy the console that you own. IF you don't like it, get rid of it. Simple as that.
Morgan: Definitely! And I wouldn't trade a year of Nintendo Land fun for $50.
Tom: Considering the systems will all have a game (Nintendo Land / Wind Waker + potentially others), how do you relate the value against the PS4 and One, and how do you think it'll fare this Holiday?
Gaz: The Lego City Undercover bundle is probably the greatest thing ever, because it is the only bundle that includes a certified legend on the cover.
Stephen: If you don't have a good PC, the value is still with Microsoft and Sony. Otherwise, it's totally up to your tastes!
Ken: I think that against the Xbox One and PS4, it will probably not do massively well, regardless of cost. The main reasons being the distinctly thin retail software catalogue, and how the console is perceived by retailers.
Gaz: I think with a price drop + Nintendo games it becomes a valid second console again. The lack of third party support will continue to haunt Wii U, but it becomes a compelling argument when it's that much cheaper, even as a stop-gap to a next-gen purchase.
Marcel: I think the PS4 will be a big problem because it releases right before the holiday season and a lot of people are positive about it, but I'm not so sure about the Xbox One, people still seem pretty uninterested by that.
Andy: As I touched upon earlier I reckon the Wii U is positioned pretty well against the other two. It's not got the ultra-giga-power they have, but the price reflects that and you get a free game. Nintendo Land will help over Christmas, as will Mario 3D World. It's sat in a perfect place for families, now it's all about communicating that message to them, showing how the GamePad innovates and basically lets them have fun, as in the end that's why people buy these things!
Ron: The Wii U is a console for Nintendo fans. The value that you're going to find in it is entirely dependent on the player. For me, the Wii U's price along with the Nintendo exclusive games is the best value. I might pick up a PS4 somewhere down the line, but the Wii U is the console for me. Between the PS4 and the XBone I think it's a matter of value, but when you factor the Wii U in then it's a simple matter of taste.
Morgan: I certainly think it's a good value — for me, and my gaming tastes. I totally agree with Ron; the Wii U is the absolute best console on the market at the moment for people who enjoy Nintendo games and the kinds of games you see on Nintendo's systems, and it's a completely different beast from the PS4/XBone.
Tom: If Wii was in the same gen as PS3 and Xbox 360, Wii U is with PS4 and Xbox One, so this "next gen" business seems as silly now as it did then. It's all tastes, yes, and the Wii U best caters to mine. I agree with Ken's latter point, a big hurdle is getting retailers on board, but by the end of the year there'll be a good range of potentially excellent games unique to the system.
Andy: Absolutely! You can't play Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, or Wind Waker HD or Super Mario 3D World or Pikmin 3 anywhere else.
Stephen: I can see skipping the Wii U if you have a 3DS, though! That's where most of my Nintendo love resides these days.
Gaz: End of the day, Wii U is the only machine that offers Mario, Zelda, Metroid (please) and the rest. You want those, you buy it, and a cheaper price only makes it more appealing.
Ken: The issue with retail is that the retailers have been burned already. They have stock that they can't sell, and they've been writing it off at deep discounts for months. There's no shelf space for the Wii U when PS3, 360, and 3DS titles are making money. Even less when Xbox One and PS4 launch.
Tom: I think you're right Ken. That's the single biggest challenge for Nintendo in the next few months, in my view.
Gaz: Public opinion is, for whatever reason, very much against Wii U. A big challenge this Christmas is turning that around.
Andy: Retailers are vital at this point for sure, for all parties I'd say.
Ken: I don't think they have the library to turn it around, unfortunately. Yes, there are a handful of exclusives available or on the way, but it isn't enough for the average gamer, in my eyes.
For the die-hard Nintendo fan that will happily wait 6 months between big games, sure.
Stephen: You guys think parents will wait until Christmas before springing for a 2DS/Pokemon bundle? Will that replace a potential Wii U?
Ken: Yes, it will — and that's just a further issue for the Wii U. It needs less competition, not more.
Andy: I think the catalogue coming into Christmas is pretty good, there's quite a lot of choice, especially with Ubisoft's titles.
Tom: I think it's very tough to call, really. And what is an "average gamer". Us, our readers? Maybe not, a lot are perhaps just consumers that go for whatever they fancy, without brand loyalty. The Wii U may have a good shot with families, as most of those are unlikely to go big on a One or PS4.
Gaz: Without EA, Wii U isn't quite as appealing to average consumers. FIFA and Madden are titanic and to not have them is a bitter blow.
Ken: By "average gamer", I mean someone without loyalty to a brand. Someone who wants to play lots of good games without waiting for months between releases. People who will look at the Wii U lineup and think that after a year on the shelves, it's very thin.
Tom: I don't think it'll look thin by late November, but that's just opinion.
Ken: Not to Nintendo fans it won't, no.
Marcel: I'm kind of disappointed they stealthily swapped 3D World and DKC around, I was looking forward to DKC more.
Gaz: The games on offer aren't fantastic, but there's a range for everyone. It's nowhere near the quality that Wii had by end of 2007.
Andy: My bank balance is testament to the healthy amount of good Wii U titles coming up.
Morgan: Haha, I hear you there Andy!
Tom: I think the jury's out on Mario 3D World, DK and Sonic Lost World – I’m optimistic though. All have the potential to be fantastic, we won't know for sure until they arrive.
Sonic Lost World's demo is surprisingly excellent.
Morgan: I'm so excited for Lost World! Especially with the NiGHTS bonuses!
Gaz: Lost World has the potential to eclipse Generations, I can't wait!
Marcel: DKC is already a 10/10 in my book for the sole reason of David Wise!
Ken: And how many are you going to be purchasing? Between the 360 and PS3, there are 30 titles I could be interested in by November. That's the difference. I want Nintendo to turn it around, but if they do, it won't be this year.
Andy: But the PS3 and 360 are at the end of their life cycle... They're naturally going to have a bigger catalogue.
Gaz: And who can afford that many games anyway? Give me 2 or 3 and I'm happy.
Ron: I think once Nintendo releases a new Zelda title and Smash Bros for Wii U, then we're going to see some consoles move.
Tom: That's fair Ken. We'll see, the typical Nintendo demographic isn't a big software buyer, I would imagine, statistically. Buying a couple of dozen games a year wasn't typical Wii owner behaviour, so maybe it's just about that Wii base, or some of it, being enticed by the Christmas lineup. MK8 will also help in Spring.
Ken: Indeed, but the Xbox One is at the beginning of its life cycle, and is launching with almost half as many titles as have appeared on the Wii U in a YEAR!
And PS4 ain't far behind. (I'm talking retail only)
Gaz: Let's see the software figures on Xbone next year, will be interesting to compare.
Tom: Wii U launched with a large lineup, and we saw how relevant that was. Momentum after launch will be key for all platforms, as Wii U's early 2013 taught us.
Andy: Xbox One and PS4 have some decent titles launching for sure, but I wouldn't say there's much in the way of a blockbuster, though I haven't played them I must admit.
Tom: So the $50 price cut isn't necessarily a huge game changer, then. Ideally, what one thing would you suggest Nintendo does to try and secure a strong Holiday?
Ken: Get Wii Fit U out and win over retail.
Marcel: Agreed, as many TV and magazine ads as they can get.
Tom: At least Wii Fit U has been reiterated as a Holiday release, it has to be a bundle.
Stephen: But what marketing angle? How do you convince the world that they need this weird, cool Nintendo thing?
Tom: With Mario and Wii Fit U.
Ken: You don't. You have to sell them something they know, and they know Wii Fit.
Ron: It's been a year and people still don't know what the hell a Wii U is. They just need proper marketing.
Just a commercial that says "this is a new console. It's different from the Wii. It has Mario games."
"Wii U. At least it's not an OUYA."
Morgan: Definitely; marketing and spotlighting the games coming out!
Tom: THE NINTENDO DIFFERENCE, no, wait...
Stephen: It's just that the Wii and DS had hooks. Obvious, nifty hooks. I guess the games alone need to sell the product, eh?
Tom: They should make the U bigger, so it's obvious.
The Wii UUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!
Stephen: Brilliant. Why aren't you head of Nintendo's marketing division??
Tom: I know right?
Andy: It's all about letting people know what it's all about, the more people that can get hold of the GamePad and play some games the better. I would have liked to have seen a Wii U channel on Wii, sort of like a showcase. There are a lot of Wii owners out there who could benefit from upgrading.
Gaz: Wii Fit. It's the only way to get this thing shifting boxes unfortunately, especially with Mario Kart missing this window. They also need a game that justifies the GamePad existing. But that's not coming any time soon.
Morgan: Gaz I think you need to turn your Wii U box upside down, a little disc called "Nintendo Land" should pop out!
Morgan: As a sort of side note, I'm super excited for Wii Fit U.
Andy: So am I Morgan! I want that pedometer big time!
Ken: You build a bundle that has Wii U with Wii Fit U, and you build a bundle with a decent pack-in game and a Wii Remote and a Pro Controller. You then stop Ubisoft from releasing Just Dance 2014 for the Wii as well as the Wii U.
Just Dance shifted a LOT of Wii consoles to the casual market. And this year they can buy a Wii U and JD2014, or they can just buy JD2014 on the console they already own. Force them to make the choice.
Obviously, that's out of Nintendo's hands.
Ron: "Wii U. At least it's not an OUYA."
Ken: If Wii Fit U is better than Your Shape, then it'll be grand. Your Shape is pretty darned good, though.
Andy: I think Wii U fits in well to the modern day family living room.
Tom: Good point Ken, it's a headache with the likes of Just Dance. Though the same can be said of all three newest systems this Holiday, with Watch_Dogs, AC4 etc.
Ken: True, but AC doesn't shift systems to people who weren't interested in buying systems. Just Dance and Wii Fit did, and will do again.
Gaz: Nintendo Land isn't a game, in my view, it's a party game. Nintendo need to show why the GamePad matters to gaming, like Prime 3 did for the Wii Remote.
Tom: I always thought ZombiU did that, but I seem to be in a minority.
Ken: I agree with you, Tom.
Andy: I really love Nintendo Land, I tell pretty much anyone who will listen about it...
Ken: ZombiU was excellent for showcasing the pad. As was NintendoLand... but that's IT after a year.
Tom: To anyone who doesn't have ZombiU, it's stupidly cheap now. So BUY IT.
Morgan: I wouldn't count out off-screen play as a GamePad killer feature, either. I play my Wii U in bed just as often as my 3DS or Vita!
Gaz: Off-screen play is ridiculous to me. I just bought a big old HDTV, so why do I want to play it on a little screen?
Morgan: For people who share a TV, it's huge!
Gaz: Is it though? Can't you just wait? Surely you have a 3DS for non-TV play.
Tom: I used off-TV a LOT when playing Monster Hunter online, because hogging the TV for hours wasn't going down well.
Andy: Does anyone else find themselves using the GamePad screen even when the TV is showing the exact same thing?
Morgan: Haha I do that too Andy! I think it's growing up with only a GameBoy Pocket, I gravitate towards handheld screens!
Tom: OK guys, let's wrap up by summarising the 2DS and Wii U price cut in no more than ten words, as our random challenge of the round table.
Stephen: Things are looking up, prices are looking down!
Ron: Life's a bitch, then you die… Hang on. Let me try that again.
2DS will sell, Wii U might.
Tom: "2DS is weird but clever, Wii U price cut is OK".
Gaz: 2DS will increase sales, games will do likewise for Wii U.
Marcel: 2Dees is kind of unnecessary, price cut was necessary.
Morgan: 2DS = 3DS flattened / Wii U buyers' pockets fattened.
Andy: 2DS is great for kids. $50 is a free game.
Ken: "2DS might sell, Wii U price cut ain't a defibrillator."
So those are our thoughts, with some healthy disagreements thrown in. Let us know your opinions on these topics in the comments below.