The Nintendo Wii U Won’t Ship With A Free Game, Which Is A Mistake

Nintendo revealed the release date and price for its upcoming Wii U console at an event in New York City, today. North American gamers will be able to get their hands on the next-gen console starting on November 18th, just in time for the Christmas shopping season. In Europe, the Wii U will launch on November 30th.

There are actually two price points for the Wii U, as it will ship in “Basic” and “Deluxe” versions. The “Basic” Wii U will sell for $299.99 in the U.S. The “Deluxe” will run you $349.99.

The “Basic” version comes with a white, 8 GB Wii U console, one white gamepad tablet, one sensor bar, one HDMI cable and the necessary AC adapters. The “Deluxe” version ships with a black 32 GB console, one black gamepad, one sensor bar, the same cables and adapters and also charging cradles and a free copy of the game Nintendo Land. The “Deluxe” Wii U also includes free access to Nintendo’s Deluxe Digital Promotion, which is a points system that gives gamers the chance earn rebates on downloadable games.

Neither console will ship with any Wii remotes. Nintendo says that remotes for the current generation Wii will work with the Wii U and they don’t want to make people buy controllers that they already own. A WiiU-branded version of the Wii remote will apparently be available for sale, however.

It’s disappointing that Nintendo is only shipping a free game, Nintendo Land, with the “Deluxe” version of the Wii U. Wii Sports, which came bundled for free with all Wii consoles, helped make the Wii so successful. It would have been nice to see Nintendo stick with this strategy for the Wii U.

The “Basic” Wii U at, essentially, $300 is a pricey console. Asking casual gamers, the market segment that made the Wii such a gigantic success, to shell out an additional $50+ for a game in order to be able to actually use their new console might be a mistake. Why even bother with the “Basic”/”Deluxe” distinction if the “Basic” version is basically useless out of the box without an additional purchase?

We’ll see how the strategy pays off when the Wii U hits stores in November.

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