We think Nintendo will make an unprecedented move this year and drop the price of its fledgling Wii U games console. We're not alone in thinking this, Industry analyst Michael Pachter predicted the same last year. He went out on a limb and said that Nintendo would knock $50 off the price of both its Wii U packages.
Overpriced to start with?
The Wii U may be doing better in the US, but here in the UK Wii U sales have been sluggish to say the least. This is partly due to the high price of the Wii U and its games. In the UK, the Premium package is £299.99 and the games around the £50 mark.
£300 consoles and £50 games are bit of a stretch for Nintendo, considering it is known as the budget option when it comes to games consoles. Selling games in the middle of a recession at £50 at all is a big ask, even for top rated titles such as the Call of Duty series. Nintendo are selling completely unheard of games (some might say shovelware) for £44.99, which is just crazy.
Wii U should be compared to the 3DS rather than the old Wii console
The price of the original Wii console remained uncut for maybe 2 years after it was launched. If you look back at DS prices, it was the same story. Nintendo do not like cutting prices on hardware.
However, it is not fair to compare the Wii U to the original Wii console, demand for the Wii was massive and created year long stock shortages back in 2007. Price wise the Wii U is more like the 3DS. This handheld console was also price heavy at launch. In fact, at £229.99 it was the most expensive games machine on the market at the time. When they didn't see the expected sales, Nintendo were soon forced to cut the price of the 3DS to make it affordable.
Another big difference between the Wii and the Wii U is that Nintendo actually made a profit on every games console sold. The Wii U follows the same business model Sony and Microsoft follow, that of making a small loss on the console and relying on sales of games to bring them back into profit. This subsidised business model is new to Nintendo which will make an early Wii U price cut an even more bitter pill to swallow.
Wii U under pressure from Xbox 720 and PS4
If that wasn't enough reason to cut the price of the Wii U, both Microsoft and Sony are making announcements about their next gen consoles this year. One or both of these consoles, the Xbox 720, PlayStation 4 could even be released this year. Nintendo need to get busy and add some value quick, as value wise the Wii U is now more than ever looking like a very weak proposition.