News Article

Older Wii U Bundles, Including All Black Systems, Discontinued in Japan

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

White models, 8GB and 32GB, now the main draw

While Nintendo sets off a major Wii U push with the arrival of Mario Kart 8 and with the system likely to enjoy a prominent role at E3 2014, it seems the company is nevertheless making logistical cost-saving decisions to ensure that the systems it does sell are produced as cheaply as possible. Part of this is prioritising popular models, which has seen the 8GB white model gradually phased out in the West — it's still around, but is far less prominent than the 32GB black model.

In Japan the opposite is true, especially as there's also a 32GB white variation in Nintendo's homeland that's never made it elsewhere — again, we suspect logistics and money saving are at the core of this. Intriguingly, it seems that Nintendo is going so far as the discontinue a series of bundles, some relatively recent, including all black models. Once these systems are sold out in Japan, they'll be gone forever.

Listed as discontinued on Nintendo Japan's hardware page are the original launch models, family bundles that include Wii Party U and New Super Mario Bros. U, along with Dragon Quest X and Monster Hunter 3G: HD Version bundles. The latter two being discontinued is arguably unsurprising due to them being third-party specials, though the removal of the family options is interesting. The options being actively promoted on the hardware page are Wii Sports Club offers or the core standalone system.

From a manufacturing and logistical perspective, and no doubt taking into account consumer preferences and buying habits in different regions, it makes sense for Nintendo to prioritise white models in Japan and the black equivalents in the West. Reader HCK, who got in touch to tip us off on this, states that the black models are very hard — almost impossible — to find at retailers in Japan. A look at Amazon Japan does show standard white models easily available, while black systems are typically out of stock or in very low numbers from third-party distributors.

It's a sign of the tough times the system's had that while the 3DS has an ever-expanding range of options, Nintendo is boiling down its Wii U offerings to a minimum — perhaps by the end of 2014 the trend can start to change.

Thanks to HCK for the tip.

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User Comments (54)

dartmonkey

#2

dartmonkey said:

I realise that a different colour isn't just a case of throwing some dye in the plastic pot, but I've always been confused about Nintendo's strategy for releasing different colours late in a home console's cycle. I'd prefer white over the black, but if there was a red available I might have caved by now. However, I'm never going to buy two versions, so why not release a selection at launch and adjust production numbers as sales dictate?

Samurai_Goroh

#4

Samurai_Goroh said:

If only that 32 GB White made it out of Japan, that's what I would get. I had to settle on a 32 GB Black, since 8 GB is just ludicrous.
Still would be nice to see more colours, though.

unrandomsam

#5

unrandomsam said:

@dartmonkey If they are selling at a loss they don't want people just buying them and keeping them boxed and unopened. (Like collectors do).

shigulicious

#6

shigulicious said:

I think sales would increase if they included a larger hard drive. 32gb is just silly for this digital age we live in.

Achoo

#7

Achoo said:

@shigulicious You can add an external HDD any size to you want (within reason). If it is a case of having a larger system to accommodate a larger HDD, I'll take the compact system and add an external when needed.

dartmonkey

#8

dartmonkey said:

@unrandomsam The market for collectors who buy a second console to keep in the box must be extremely small and financially insignificant, especially at the start of the cycle. I'm talking about people who want a 32gb white one at launch. I may have bought one by now if that was an option. I'd love a red one, but that might mean waiting another couple of years. I don't see how different SKUs with different colours is beneficial for them.

Ralizah

#10

Ralizah said:

Never understood people who wait to buy a Nintendo console until it comes out in a different color they like. As long as it isn't hideous-looking, does it really matter what color the machine is?

unrandomsam

#11

unrandomsam said:

@Achoo Just imagine how easy it will be to pull off. With the Gamecube adapter in the front and the lan adapter and hdd in the back. They could have just made it slightly bigger and had all that stuff built in. (Leave the place for the HDD empty).

Only way I can think of is by screwing everything down to the table.

absuplendous

#13

absuplendous said:

I'm sort of on the fence on this one. I've grown somewhat accustomed to having a choice of console color (though color being linked to hard drive size reduced that freedom of choice a bit), but I also find the practice of releasing multiple variations and revisions to be a bit annoying and overwhelming--unless you really do your research, you can't always be sure if your model does X, Y, and Z (currently, with Nintendo I'd rather buy early before features are cut, while with Sony I'd rather wait for its hardware to be improved/refined). Ultimately, I think I'd welcome having hardware variations down to a minimum.

AJ_Lethal

#14

AJ_Lethal said:

@unrandomsam The Wii U is now breaking even, look it up.

If anything this could be a SKU rotation. That and nobody wants a black Wii U in Japan, apparently

TruenoGT

#15

TruenoGT said:

They're still really expensive for importers unfortunately. I'd love to have a Japanese Wii U for imports (particularly on VC), but fortunately there hasn't been any big non-western releases yet. If they release a red system in Japan though, I'm in big trouble. :)

unrandomsam

#16

unrandomsam said:

@AJ_Lethal Yeah but he was saying they should have done it straight away in all colours. (Once a profit is getting made on the sale it no longer matters.)

unrandomsam

#17

unrandomsam said:

I would prefer matte plastic (Doesn't attract fingerprints - easier to keep clean).

I wouldn't even mind if they used the plastic used for the SNES (It is very hard wearing which is good).

FX102A

#18

FX102A said:

@shigulicious I'd imagine its due to Nintendo's insistence on having flash memory storage (faster, more energy efficient, more reliable but much more expensive).

Achoo

#20

Achoo said:

@unrandomsam Don't need a Lan adapter for a start, unless your going for a full on set-up, in which case you'll probably be the type of person to have room in your entertainment area for such things. Personally, I've had no trouble at all with the wireless, a good router would be a better investment than a lan adapter.
Gamecube adapter sure, but then it is no different than people who use a PC get in many cases. Hell, even the SNES had a bigger multitap than that gamecube one.
Then HDD, you can get very small these days, and then just disconnect it when not playing the games on it. Or get a really long USB cable and have it away somewhere else. Not a problem.
For me, small and quite are underestimated and appreicated. Both the Wii U is great for. I've not needed to add an external HDD as yet, but I only download indy and VC games to it.

Pj1

#21

Pj1 said:

@unrandomsam if you live in the UK (maybe Europe) Canada or America you can buy a Mini Wii that has similar casing to the SNES but I'm not sure it would work for Wii-U. Shame Nintendo didn't do 32GB white Wii-U's still a mistake from them in my opinion.

Luna-Harmony

#22

Luna-Harmony said:

They might make a newer model with a 128gb card inside :) or bigger so we don't have to worry about how much space we have on the console with games with games downloaded.

Kirk

#24

Kirk said:

If there's no black model at all available in Japan at some point in the future then that is a mistake imo.

As someone who much prefers the black consoles over the white ones, it just seem like a bad decision to limit the choice to white only. I mean no one can convince me the Japanese don't like black, or that most people probably wouldn't prefer black actually, when all the other consoles only come in black and are all selling just fine and dandy (which was true of the previous generations too).

What Nintendo should have is the 32GB model only (get rid of the worthless 8GB models entirely in all regions), although at this point in time it really should be much higher than 32GB in general because even that is almost useless imo (a 256GB-500GB HDD would be my choice), available in both matte black or white variations.

Note: It would be smart to make future models matte rather finger print attracting gloss. If you look at the Xbox One controller you can see how matte black can be done to look premium.

It doesn't have to be so complicated or confusing: A 500GB Wii U, available in either a matte black or white finish.

Any future 'bundles' could also just be the same console pack but with a simple cardboard sleeve over the box showing an image of what the 'bundle' is and instead of creating multiple different physical bundles with different things in each box what you'd actually get is a digital version of the game that comes as part of the 'bundle' e.g. the Mario Kart 8 bundle would just be the standard 500GB model in either matte black or white with the Mario Kart 8 bundle sleeve and a digital version of Mario Kart 8 pre-installed.

Making all versions of the games that come with the console digital versions by default, rather than including physical boxed copies, would also cut costs for Nintendo and hopefully help keep the price down on the consumer end too.

You don't really have to have extra bundle specific controllers and stuff included in the box either, if the bundled game is good enough and the price is cheap enough I think most people would be happy with just that, but if there's an option for additional controllers as part of a bundle I'd just have them as separate boxed products; so you'd just get an additional boxed Wiimote and boxed Wii Wheel with your Mario Kart 8 bundle.

Again; it's basically 1 SKU available in two colors, with custom sleeves when there's special bundles and digital versions of the default game and/or bundle game pre-installed.

Why are these things being made so complicated?

ULTRA-64

#25

ULTRA-64 said:

@unrandomsam I'm in full agreement over the Matte finish.....would look and keep lots better. For me a GameCube edition Wii u in purple complete with the new adapter for GC pads and some vc games would be the perfect option.
On the memory issue.....they SHOULD introduce a higher option imo, but 64gb would do it as I agree with the buy your own option. My biggest Wii u gripe was always the decision to use single touch, capacitive touch screens when multi touch and gorilla glass devices are the norm now.

sinalefa

#26

sinalefa said:

Could this have Japanese rushing to get black wii u systems before they are gone for good? If handled right that could increase demand significantly, even if most of them end up on ebay at outrageous prices.

Link506

#27

Link506 said:

This is easily believable for many NA people, except myself, download their games, while in Japan, they buy the physical copies

AJSjedi

#28

AJSjedi said:

I'm sorry but I must disagree with those who feel Nintendo "needs" bigger hard drives on wiiu. I have 26 disc based games and with the free wind waker I'll get from Mario kart 36 downloaded games/virtual console games plus a full menu in wii mode and I still have more than 13GB free space. Heck my old xbox 360 is the 2nd model they ever did with a 60GB hard drive and half of that is still free. Only my ps3 fat original I've had to upgrade twice, other than that I'm good.

While is suspect someday a bigger drive version of wiiu or it's successor may be in the cards, I still feel digital downloads won't ever truly eclipse hard copies unless it's forced like pspgo or what xbox one was trying to do

rjejr

#29

rjejr said:

Is there an MK8 bundle in japan? Im guessing no b/c it wasnt mentiond, but that seems like a huge oversite on their part.

For storage, 8GB always seemed like a non- starter for a home console, cheap smartphones have that much, but 32GB seems almost adequate for what they curently have to offer. I dont think lack of storage is a major issue, its lack of marketing and games which arent avaible on Wii. They could easily bump the storage to 64 then 128 after a couple of years. Anybody notice how many HDD sizes the PS3 had - 20, 40, 60, 80, 160, 500 and at least 2 or 3 others. People who are DLing games probably just bought an external HDD.

Yoshis_VGM

#30

Yoshis_VGM said:

I actually like my black Wii U. It fits in with the rest of my entertainment system. The white Wii we had before we upgraded stood out too much. Kinda sad they discontinued the black models in Japan.

Yoshis_VGM

#31

Yoshis_VGM said:

@rjejr That combined with the fact that Nintendo packages their games in small download files. 3D World had a TON of content, and it was only 1.6 GB.

kyuubikid213

#32

kyuubikid213 said:

Multiple colors is okay, but I find it weird that people hold off on buying Nintendo consoles until they come in some gaudy color no one else wants, but buys the Sony or Microsoft consoles no matter how awkwardly shaped, or how bulky, or whatever. It's just weird...

I also don't really have an issue with my 8GB White Wii U. I chose white because my Wii was white and my accessories match. (Yay). If I ever need more space, I'll get an external hard drive. For now, I've got a 16GB flash drive plugged into the back and the Wii U can access the smaller games (Mighty Switch Force, Earthbound, and Trine 2 for example) from it. It's also holding my Assassin's Creed IV update data. I couldn't put the Mass Effect 3 update data on it, but still, with my memory mostly dedicated to save data, I'm good.

The "matte finish" argument that's been going on up above is one I can understand, but ultimately doesn't affect my gaming experience. When I'm done playing and I set my Wii U down, I notice all the "grime" and dirt the glossy finish has attracted, but mid-game, I'm more focused with what's on the screens.

SuperMikey

#33

SuperMikey said:

@Kirk 256-500GB!?!? Have fun paying $500+ for your Wii U without anything else!! (Assuming it's true that flash is expensive).

AshFoxX

#34

AshFoxX said:

I would have preferred a white system but I also bought a black one due to the storage. The white one is slightly better as fingerprints don't seem to show up as much on the gamepad, which I learned from my friend who owns a white system. It's stupid that after seeing that the white system is selling better in Japan than elsewhere - even after admitting that Japan was the only ones who got a 32g white system - they focus selling the black systems outside of Japan.

Why can't these things just be released equally everywhere in the first place, and allow early adopters to make their own decisions and perhaps even effect future revisions for the hold-outs.

Kirk

#35

Kirk said:

@SuperMikey

Why would a Wii U with a 500GB hard drive suddenly cost more than a PS4 or Xbox One, which both already have 500GB hard drives?

IRNBRU115

#36

IRNBRU115 said:

Prefer my zelda wii u to anything else, fits in with black TV, black blu-ray, black Apple TV and so on

oreqano

#37

oreqano said:

@ULTRA-64 My understanding was the multi screen technology isn't as long lasting and reliable. Not sure if this is true but I have had trouble with my DROID phones losing their "touch".

Zombie_Barioth

#38

Zombie_Barioth said:

@Kirk
Because hes is thinking people mean 500GB of flash memory. You'd be right there @SuperMikey, but notice peole are saying 500GB "HDD" not "SSD", the latter being flash memory.

@Achoo
Well you don't "need" wifi either now do you? They could just as easily have dropped wifi and went with a lan adapter, which motherboards usually have built in anyway.

There are two big issues here with the way Nintendo does things. Number one being that it does leave an impression that Nintendo cheaped out since its missing things even last-gen consoles have like ethernet ports and HDD space. You can't tell me people don't notice that the PS3 has over 7x the HDD space. Both have it right on the box.

The other is people don't want a bunch of extra boxes laying around or resort to cockamamie workarounds that involve running extra cords and hardware all over the house, much less buy extra equipment (for a $300 device no less) to compensate. Especially when, like I said before, the competition has all that stuff and its all ready to go.

SuperMikey

#39

SuperMikey said:

@Zombie_Barioth ahhhhhhhhhh!! OK! Thanks for the clearin' up! In that case yeah XD, maybe it would be better to have more memory but they'd need to balance out cost and total memory. Is HDD that much cheaper though? Wow! :o

SuperMikey

#40

SuperMikey said:

@Kirk never mind bro, I thought you guys meant flash memory cuz I was 'bout to be like, you bois be cray cray! XD

Zombie_Barioth

#41

Zombie_Barioth said:

@SuperMikey
Its cheaper per GB at least, so it'd be something like 32GB for $20 vs. 500GB for $50. I think for Nintendo size is the main issue, with the Wii they wanted to make it as small as possible, I'm sure its the same here too.

The OS would see a good boost from running off flash but thats not a budget-oriented setup, which is weird for a console based around "affordable gaming". I think its the cart vs. CD thing all over again.

dumedum

#42

dumedum said:

not having a hdd is a plus. i have a cheap 1 TB external that i forget even exists. last thing that i want is some forced crappy internal hdd stuck in the wii u.

OmegaStar

#44

OmegaStar said:

Now they need to get rid of that Basic Set in NA, or at least ditch the Skylanders one.

SMEXIZELDAMAN

#45

SMEXIZELDAMAN said:

"Intriguingly, it seems that Nintendo is going so far as the discontinue a series of bundles, some relatively recent, including all black models."

mizumaru

#47

mizumaru said:

In reference to that Mario Kart article, I now see why there are no People of Color in Mario Kart. WHO KNEW!?

StarDust4Ever

#48

StarDust4Ever said:

Got scared when I first read the article. I misread the headline that Wii-U was being discontinued in the homeland... :o

Achoo

#49

Achoo said:

@Zombie_Barioth I don't know, I think I disagree. I don' think they "cheaped out" as the price is lower the competition (i'm not counting ps3 as this is a DX9 console, and the Wii U is DX10 or DX11 I believe). It would not make sense to leave the WiFi off in place of a LAN adapter, due to the wires problem you have already said people dislike. As I said, WiFi is not a problem anyway, I doubt anyone would notice the difference between the 2 if given a blind fold test (providing a good router is used).
As I said before, I would rather a lower retail with less features in a smaller quieter box, than to have all these feature you mention on bored from the start. At least then I have the option of adding them if I wanted, and not if I don't. If I don't, which lets be honest, is the majority of people, I end up with a smaller, quite, cheaper system. If I do add anything, well sure the pay off is a few more wired around my console and the inconvenience of having to disconnect a few usb cables etc. This slight inconvenience I think is more than acceptable. How often you gonna move your console anyway? Hardly ever.

Zombie_Barioth

#50

Zombie_Barioth said:

@Achoo
The point was motherboards have them built in, if its ridiculous to leave out wifi its even more ridiculous to leave out a wired option.

I didn't say they "cheaped out" I said it makes the Wii U look that way in comparison to the competition. The issue with needing extra stuff isn't with moving things, its setup and space. People also don't like finding out they need to go back to buy more little extras for their new device, especially $300 "affordable" options.

The only "extra feature" I mentioned was more HDD space, which would definitely improve the perceived value of the console, and if Nintendo wants to sell people on digital games having more from the start will make it more appealing. Cost, size, and noise wouldn't be an issue either.

Like I said to SuperMikey, its "cart vs. CD" all over again. The only difference is "CD" (or in thins case, HDD) isn't at much of a disadvantage at all.

Achoo

#51

Achoo said:

@Zombie_Barioth Motherboards cost a lot more also. My motherboard alone cost £100. Sure it comes with gigabyte Ethernet, which I never use. Ethernet is only really useful these days for transferring lots of data around a local network. When it come to internet speed, it isn't even close to WiFi-N capabilities for most countries. Ethernet does give less dropouts, but again, the routers most isp's provide these days make this very rare, at least in my experience. So no, it is not ridiculous to leave out Ethernet, but it would be to leave out WiFi.
If extra features that minimal people will use "looks like" they cheaped out to you, then I think your wrong. The price was changed to accommodate this.
Internal HDDs that don't have moving parts (SSDs) are still expensive, so the option was a large standard HDD that creates heat and clicking noises and break quite often if banged, or give people the option of an external HDD of a size of their choosing, and then possibly upgrade the standard internal flash memory as costs come down with future revisions of the console. Nintendo's whole perogative with the Wii U was to make it as cheap as possible at launch.

Zombie_Barioth

#52

Zombie_Barioth said:

@Achoo
Even the cheapest Motherboards have an ethernet port, so taking it out is pointless, especially if your just going to sell an an adapter for it anyway. The existence of that adapter shows Nintendo thinks its something people want in the first place, or they wouldn't bother. Moves like that definitely come across as cheap and money grubbing, or penny-pinching if you prefer.

Those kind of things aren't "extra" either, they're considered standard features. When everything but the Wii U has those features, yes it comes across as cheap. The Wii U is stuck between older consoles with comparable power, (obviously) bigger game selections, more features, and a cheaper price, and the other next gen consoles which are stronger, have more features, more support, but cost more.

Needing things like external drives and adapters to make up for those things soaks up whatever advantage it has as the "affordable" next-gen console. Its obvious to anyone browsing store shelves.

Your right about SSD vs. HDD, thats what I meant by "cartridges vs. CD". Its pretty much the exact same situation. The issue with HDDs are as big as you make it sound though, except if your goal is the smallest, quietest device possible.

WWammy

#53

WWammy said:

I didn't read the rest of the comments yet but I was keen on the black colour to be honest.
I was even considering the 8gb version just to have the white colour ah well I hope it comes out over here =P

Vineleaf

#54

Vineleaf said:

I liked the black one, and fingerprints weren't a concern to me: I ordered a skin kit from Decalgirl the same day. Black Wii U + aurora borealis skin for console and gamepad = happy me.

I get the argument about wanting more storage, and I'm going to pop an SD card in the front of mine at some point. But I really do prefer physical copies. It's silly, but I'm more likely to remember that they're there.

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