As speculated, the Nintendo Wii U will be hitting stores shelves on November 18th. There will be two different versions available. One, the Basic set, will set you back $299.99, will come with 8GB of internal storage, a GamePad, AC Adapter, a sensor bar, an HDMI cable and will have a white shell. A deluxe version, in black, will run you $349.99. It will be bundled with all of the same items as the Basic set but will also come with a 32GB SSD, a console stand, GamePad charge dock, sensor bar, a subscription to the new Nintendo Network Premium service and a copy of Nintendo Land.
There are 51 games scheduled to hit the system during its “launch window” which is between the November 18th launch and March 31st of 2013. It looks like Nintendo has learned the lesson from the 3DS and is making sure software will be available to play for the first few months. Those titles also don’t include eShop releases which will most likely account for a lot more content.
The first formerly-retail game for the 3DS hits the eShop this week with Order Up! coming to the service for a mere $9.99. That’s one of the more expensive titles to hit the downloadable store to date. However it pales in comparison to what it appears that Unchained Blades will be when it hits the eShop later this year.
XSEED Games sent out a press release today saying the game would be available on the PSP on June 26th. If you’re interested in picking it up it’s going to set you back $29.99. Now that’s to be expected considering the game is a full retail sized title. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is coming to the system in August and will be at least that much, if not slightly higher. It’s a normal price for a game of that size. I would expect if Unchained Blades were to hit retail it would have launched at $40, which seems to be the average price for 3DS games at retail. If that is the case you’re seeing a discount of $10 or 25% compared to retail. Is this enough incentive to purchase your games through the eShop rather than at retail? With this one you’re not going to have a choice as the game isn’t coming to stores so we can’t really compare it to anything.
The press release didn’t mention a release date other than later in 2012. I’ll keep you up to date as I find out more information. If I were a betting man it would be after Nintendo launches the digital retail store with New Super Mario Bros. 2.
Many times, when you go to a store to make a video game purchase one of the factors that you weigh when making your decisions is the price of a game. Sometimes you might feel that the content of a game isn’t worth the price that the publisher is asking for. That can ultimately be harmful to developers, publishers and the game franchise itself. How many times have we seen a good franchise doomed to die because it didn’t sell well enough to warrant a sequel? How many times could that fate have been avoided by simply launching the game at a different price point.
This has been one of those issues that has plagued both game makers and game buyers for years. Most titles, it seems, are obligated to come out at a certain price point. Right now the standard default price for games on the high definition consoles is $60, while the default price for most Wii games is $50. Publishers of games for the Xbox 360 and PS3 both justify that additional cost by saying how much more expensive it is to create games for those systems compared to the Wii. Sometimes software comes packaged as, what we like to call, budget software that will sell for around $10 less than the standard price. This is also usually accompanied by the belief, sometimes false belief, that those games aren’t as good as their higher priced cousins.
Well, we still don’t know yet. It’s too early to tell at this moment, but Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata gave some vague details about what the company is thinking about in terms of Wii U pricing. During a talk with CNBC this week he didn’t talk specifics, but he did say that he didn’t think Nintendo would be able to charge what they do for Wii across the board.
Right now Nintendo Wii software runs $50 for most titles while PS3 and 360 games that are HD quality cost more to develop so they have a bit of a premium when it comes to pricing. Mr. Iwata did talk about this during that conversation.
“When you consider some of the most popular franchise—such as Call of Duty or Madden—the publishers can afford to affix a rather expensive price tag on that because the franchise has a premium value. On the other hand,without an established franchise, they cannot afford to keep that expensive price tag. I believe there will be a wider price range.”
So, what will the games cost? We’re still not going to know for a while, but I think based on his comments you’ll be able to expect a wide range of software pricing, which I think is a good thing. It will really allow developers some freedom on what they charge based on the content of their games.