Gaming Nexus Staff Reactions to the Wii U Price and Release Date

Article

posted 9/20/2012 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
Platforms: Multiple
Last week Nintendo revealed the key details of the Wii U launch including the release date, release titles, and the pricing of the units.  Opinions on the details varied so I decided to poll the Gaming Nexus staff to see what everyone thought of the new information as well as who would be picking on up at launch (or ever).  

As you would expect opinions on the information varied but they fell into three distinct categories, those who are getting one at launch, those who are on the fence, and those who are sitting this one out.  Please read the opinions below and then feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below the article.


Those that are definitely getting one at launch

Matt Mirkovich
Initial Reaction to price and launch line up
The price actually surprised me when compared to the Japanese prices that were released the night before. Overall I am happy that the price points are so cheap, though reports of the games getting a price bump makes me less enthusiastic about the console. The price sounds about right for the new tech being provided, and thankfully doesn't have the sticker shock that the PS3 had when it first entered the market.
The launch garage-door of games has me moderately interested in all the unique stuff for the console, like Runner2, The Wonderful 101, Tank! Tank! Tank!. Getting Bayonetta 2 on the WiiU is a surprise megaton that I didn't see coming in the slightest. The amount of ports and shovelware was thankfully low, and it looks like the WiiU won't have the same problem the Wii had at launch.

Are you getting one - why or why not?
I will probably be picking one up within the 'launch window,' mainly because if the console receives any downgrades like the Wii did (removing the GameCube functionality), then I'd like to get the console while it still has all it's launch functionality. I'll be picking up the Premium bundle just because the fifty dollar difference nets the user a lot more for their money, an HDMI cable, a game, and a console that matches the rest of my entertainment center colors. Hopefully Nintendo makes the console out of better materials than it did the Wii. I've lost a number of Wii-remotes and peripherals (A WiiFit board) due to batteries exploding after being left in the devices for more than 3 months without use.  In fact I just pre-ordered one through best buy.

I'm a consumer whore, I know.


Sean Colleli
Initial Reaction to price and launch line up
To be honest I'm genuinely surprised how enthusiastic I am after this press conference. After being burned (overall) by the Wii's shovelware ocean and the 3DS's lackluster launch (still don't have one), not to mention just how rote, dry and disappointing the Wii U announcements have been so far--specifically the dismal E3 showing--I must admit I was at best lukewarm about Wii U.

I changed my mind due to a number of factors. First off the $350 price point for the high-end model is very tempting and a lot lower than what I was expecting--somewhere in the $450 range--especially after how overpriced the 3DS was at launch. The capabilities of that weird tablet controller are finally coming to light, and even games that were announced months ago like ZombiU are looking a lot more interesting. I really like the whole permanent player death, respawn as a completely new character idea, especially with the multiplayer implications of your friends descending on your corpse to loot all your gear.

The strong 3rd party support is also swaying me. While the Wii launched with a few proof of concept titles and a LOT of shovelware, Wii U is at least getting some of the current gen's headliners like Darksiders 2, Black Ops 2, Arkham City, Assassin's Creed 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Nintendo is clearly doing the same thing they did with 3DS: taking a big step back and letting 3rd parties have their time in the spotlight. That said, it remains to be seen if Wii U will suffer Wii's fate, with 3rd parties throwing in the towel early on and taking the quick and easy path of shovelware and last-gen ports...there were a lot of sloppy PS2 and PSP ports to Wii at the beginning of its lifecycle. I'd prefer that 3rd parties establish a foothold with big name cross-platform releases, but also try some creative new IPs with that tablet. Then again, it's about time Nintendo brought out some fresh IP too.

Are you getting one - why or why not?
Am I getting one? Yeah, I admit it, I've been bitten. I'll probably get the deluxe one too, because Mr. Mirkovich is right, the extra $50 does get you a decent amount for the price. If it were more expensive then my skepticism would have gotten the best of me, but I think the price of entry is worth a conservative gamble on this new system. But am I waiting in the freezing cold for 2 hours in front of a Gamestop, just to preorder one? No way. Fool me once, etc. I'll just park at my local Best Buy, put in a reserve, and be on my way.



On the fence

Russell Archery
Initial Reaction to price and launch line up
I'll be honest, I was a little surprised at the launch price, and yes I know that that's cheaper than when the 360 and PS3 launched.  However, the launch line-up doesn't look too bad to me.  Then again, I am a Nintendo fan-boy so to speak, so I'm looking forward to New Super Mario Bros. U and Darksiders II (even though I haven't had a chance to touch it on the 360 yet).

Are you getting one - why or why not?
With that said, I'm still on the fence about getting it.  With my funds being a little dry right now and trying to pay down my credit cards and student loans, coupled with the fact that that's right near the holidays, I'm still a little weary on whether I'll pick one up or not.  Knowing me I'd pick up one of the $350 consoles, and add in a game or two and it'd be near $450 when I'm done.  At this point I'm undecided, and I'll probably remain that way until the launch date gets closer.


Jeremy Duff
Initial Reaction to price and launch line up
The price of the system hit exactly where I expected it to: way too high. You aren't going to sell the casual crowd that flocked to your Wii for $200 or less a new console for that much money; if anything this just ends up being a hard lesson in gaming reality for those new to the industry that this hobby can get very expensive. On the other side of the fence, with the mainstream gaming crows (I don't use the term "hardcore"), why would we pay that much for a system that is as powerful as the one or two we already own. There is just no incentive to buy the system at that price... none at all. As for the launch lineup, it could be one of the most disappointing I have ever seen. Sure, you have your Mario and an original LEGO title, but other than that all of their big titles are games that have been available on other systems for a year or so. If people want to play those games, they will have already bought them for the 360 or PS3. It is a nice change of pace to see them be timely with title such as Black Ops 2 though, as releasing that a few months later would completely defeat the purpose of having it at all.

Are you getting one - why or why not?
I
am sure that I will eventually get one as Bayonetta 2 is calling my name, but it isn't on my shopping list this Holiday season. I haven't seen anything yet that warrants a $300+ purchase for my household and I am going to need either a major price drop or something that I can't live without on the software end of things. I don't expect either one of those very soon.


No Interest
 
Travis Huinker
Initial Reaction to price and launch line up
The Wii U launch price wasn't surprising considering that much of the device's cost stems from the inclusion of the GamePad. More surprising was the reveal of two different console versions, with the basic model seeming completely unnecessary in comparison with the slightly-higher priced premium edition that includes a hilariously-small 32GB of flash memory and a Nintendo Network Premium subscription.

Aside from the Wii U prices and model variations, the launch line-up again contains more additions to outdated Nintendo franchises along with games created for the sole purpose of controller gimmicks. When the GamePad controller is removed from the equation, everything from the device's current generation hardware specifications to its repeat of third-publisher game releases on other platforms results in a bad investment when considering the actual next generation of game consoles is just around the corner.

Are you getting one - why or why not
As the owner of a gaming computer and the current generation of consoles, there aren't any reasons or even motivations to buy yet another device that doesn't serve any other purpose than to own an unnecessary and expensive tablet controller. For now, I'll skip the Wii U launch and wait for the actual release of next-generation consoles.


John Yan
Initial Reaction to price and launch line up
I saw the signs of how much they were thinking of pricing it and at first I thought it was way too expensive. Then I gave it a little more thought and it's not THAT far off. The GamePad is expensive, that's for sure and when you take that away you're left with a price that's close to what the lower end 360 or PS3 are. I'm not a big Mario fan so I'm not that excited about seeing another Super Mario Bros. game, but I guess that's what it takes to try and sell their system. I wasn't that impressed with Nintendo Land seeing it up close at E3 either.

Are you getting one - why or why not?
I have to best honest. No matter what they were going to price it, I wasn't getting one. I see my Wii console that's been sitting stagnant in my media center a few months after the release, my DS sitting unused for about the same amount of time, and I just can't see myself getting enough use out of the Wii U to justify buying one. I'm not that impressed with the GamePad and it's expensive to get another one when they do release games that will allow two. If I am not excited about any of the titles shown or the console itself, I'm not going to go spend the money on one.



Dan Keener
Initial Reaction to Price and launch lineup
While the price point is exactly what I thought it would be at $299, I was a bit surprised to find the $349 option also going to be available.  I think both are way overpriced, considering that the250GB  Xbox 360 and 320GB PS3 WITH Madden are also $299.  The $349 Deluxe set  appears on the surface as a decent “deal” (compared to the basic Wii U) as even several of my fellow writers here were stating that the extra $50 wasn’t a bad value.  However, when you add things up you actually are paying extra to get that black color and an included game.  The 32GB of memory is a bit of a red herring, because you could easily go out and purchase a 32GB SDHC card from Amazon or Newegg for $25 and beef up the basic to 40GB.  So in essence, you are getting a  $25 tax to get the black setup, a couple pieces of plastic to hold your Wii U and controller up and a party game (Nintendo Land) that will likely be shelved once people understand the Wii U GamePad.  The Deluxe Digital Promotion doesn’t appear to be much different than participating in Xbox Live Rewards or Bing Rewards, both of which are free and allow you to earn Microsoft Points to redeem for content. So the “value” doesn’t seem to be there unless you really want the black color.  Also, including an HDMI cable seems like a nice gesture, but it is driving up the price as a smart shopper can pick up a 6’ one for less than $10 at www.monoprice.com and get the same quality as what Nintendo will be packaging in the box.  Heck, many of us probably have extra ones laying around seeing as how it has been industry standard for about five years now (2007.)

I think the biggest challenge Nintendo will face is this switching from a core gamer base (N64 and GameCube) to a Casual Gamer base (Wii) and what feels like back to a core gamer base (Wii U.)  I am not so sure that this identity crisis issue won’t come back to bite them in the ass, as they ran off their core gamers to the PS3 and Xbox 360 (but allowed them to hang around via a “cheap” Wii.)  I think it might be hard for Nintendo to reel them back in, as these gamers are now entrenched on the other consoles.

The launch lineup is pretty much as expected, with the usual array of Nintendo IPs with a different skin on them and third party support from companies and games that have previously been released on the original Wii.  The addition of Call of Duty: Black Ops II seems to be generating a little bit of buzz, but I doubt it makes much of an impact as it feels too little too late.  I severely doubt that people who have been playing with the same clans or friends for over 6 years are going to up and abandoned them to switch from the PS3 or Xbox 360 to the Wii U.  The same also applies for FIFA, Madden and pretty much any other multiplayer game on the market.  People tend to pick a console and stick with it for those games to keep their friends, and enemies, at hand. With new hardware inbound from Microsoft and Sony that will surely surpass what Nintendo is including in the Wii U, a nine to 12 month head start is unlikely to cause people to jump back on the best multiplayer games.

Are you getting one?
I think the answer is obvious, especially at this price point.  With Microsoft and Sony slated to release new version of their console within the next year or so, I am not going to drop anywhere close to $300 on a Nintendo console that barely matches what my 7 year-old Xbox 360 and 5 year old PlayStation 3 can do.  Although it may have a slightly faster processor, the tablet controller feels like it could be a huge white elephant if you need to replace or add on at any point during the Wii U lifecycle. When the price gets below the $199 range, I might look around at the Wii U.  But until it does, I will save my money for the next round of Xbox and PlayStation hardware.



Sean Cahill
Initial Reaction to price and launch line up
I really think this might be the deathknell for Nintendo as a console developer, though that might be "worst case scenario" as Nintendo has only recently not turned a profit.
Looking at the specifications, the system is only going to be the most powerful console on the market for under a year.  Once the new Xbox and Playstation get released, they will blow away what the Wii U can do.  The controller is another attempt at Nintendo to try and lock in a crowd with a gimmick, and while they stole a ton of sales with the Wii's motion control, that isn't going to work this time around.

I look at this as a system that would have been amazing to see about five years ago, but with Nintendo just now acknowledging the importance of high definition connections with gaming, they are still woefully behind in the market.  Nintendo will claim their standard "pat on the back" with the holiday launch of this system, but I would be stunned if it was even marginally close to the excitement that they landed when the Wii simply could not be kept in stock anywhere upon its launch.

Are you getting one?
I have no plans on getting one.

Charles Husemann
Initial Reaction to price and launch line up
You have to give credit to Nintendo for holding the line on making a profit on each console sold and thus driving up the cost of the Wii U.  It’s a solid financial decision but I’m not sure it was the best business decision.  The lower end option doesn’t even include a pack in title which was a key selling point of the of the Wii. 

The higher price puts them squarely in competition with the PS3 and Xbox 360, both of which offer significantly larger libraries.  Sure the tablet controller is a differentiator but how many developers outside of Nintendo are going to deliver anything that really leverages the power of the new controller?  Remember how long it took developers to get past the collection of min-games/technical demoes phase?  We are at least a year out for developers to catch up and Nintendo doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to delivering a steady string of content for new consoles. 

Are you getting one - why or why not?
After buying a Nintendo 64 and Will and watch them collecting dust I am reminded of the old mantra of “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” so I think I’ll sit this round of

While the WiiU does seem a decent lineup there aren’t any titles that are must haves for me and the rest of the games are already available on platforms I already own.  There are a few nice things here and there but why waste $300 or more when newer and more than likely better technology is just around the corner.





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