Will it still print money?

In an age where many gamers are getting their entertainment for free via either 'freemium' smartphone titles or free-to-play web services, it should hardly be a massive shock to learn that there are some individuals out there that believe big-budget home console releases are a dying breed; they're far too expensive to survive in the modern gaming landscape.

This is despite the fact that many current-generation games costs millions to produce, and provide the kind of epic experience that you usually expect to see in a movie theatre. It's a line of argument that also ignores the fact that in most case, software is actually cheaper than it was almost two decades ago, when expensive cartridges ruled the roost.

However, the debate regarding how much we should hand over at the cash register for our interactive entertainment has reached a new level with the confirmation that Wii U software will cost around $60. That's the same as 360 and PS3 games, just in case you were wondering.

Although there's a parity with games on other formats - both in terms of price and graphical performance - Don Reisinger of SlashGear believes that Wii U games are overpriced.

In his piece entitled "Why You Shouldn’t Preorder the Wii U Yet", he states:

Chief among those concerns is how much the Wii U’s games will cost. Nintendo has said that its console will have about 50 games available to customers between launch day and the end of March, and it has even said that a new Super Mario game will be available, but those titles will cost $60.

That’s a problem. Nintendo customers have been conditioned to pay less for games for the last two generations. Now they’re paying the same as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 customers for graphics that really don’t seem all that much better than what we’ve seen to this point? That’s a problem if I’ve ever seen one.

But it’s not just that. The Wii U will undoubtedly offer up better graphics than its predecessor, but there is real concern that it won’t be that much of a step up over the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. In fact, many of the games that are available on those other devices are now coming to the Wii U as simple ports. That’s not exactly the most reassuring news to people who are considering plunking down $300 or $350, plus games, to buy a console.

We're not sure that a Wii U game should automatically be cheaper because it looks the same as a 360 or PS3 game (which, lest we forget, also retail at sixty bucks), but Reisinger could have a point. When the next Xbox and PlayStation hit the market, it's almost certain that they will do with the same RRP for games - so where does that leave the Wii U? Can Nintendo realistically charge $60 for games which are - in visual terms at least - a generation behind the competition?

Gaming is entering a period where players are getting more entertainment than ever, but the cost of that entertainment is dropping. Prior to the smartphone revolution, there was literrally nowhere else to turn - you had to drop your cash on the latest release from Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft because - outside of the PC market - they had it locked down.

Now, with new challengers on the scene that are tempting players with games that don't cost a single penny to play, the field has changed dramatically. Could this force companies like Nintendo to drop the price of their games? Or do you think that full-price console releases provide value for money? Should Nintendo be aiming below the 360 and PS3 right from the off? Or is this entire topic a complete waste of time? Let us know your opinion by voting in the poll.

Is $60 too much for Wii U software? (332 votes)

  1. No, I don't mind paying top dollar for quality50%
  2. Yes, they should be cheaper37%
  3. I don't really have an opinion either way13%

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[source slashgear.com]