One of the video game industry’s biggest players has suggested that Nintendo’s new Wii U console is too expensive — not exactly the kind of press Nintendo needs on the eve of the console’s launch.
The Wii U, which is Nintendo’s first-ever high-definition home video game system, launches in the US on November 18. The console’s basic model, which features 8 gigabytes of storage but no game, will retail for $300. However, for 50 extra bucks, gamers can get their hands on the 32GB deluxe version of the Wii U, which ships with the game Nintendo Land.
Aside from Nintendo Land, a total of 23 games will be available at launch time, including Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed III.
Given that Ubisoft could seriously benefit from the console’s launch, it’s somewhat surprising that the Montreal-based company’s chief executive officer, Yves Guillemot, would slam the system so close to its release.
“I always prefer lower pricing, so I can’t say I’m happy,” Guillemot reportedly said. “I’m never happy when the machines are expensive. What we have to do there is remember that compared to an iPad, it’s cheap. With what it brings [to the gaming table] it’s cheap. But I hope they’ll be able to drop their price in time.”
In the grand scheme of things, the Wii U isn’t actually that expensive. In fact, the Microsoft Xbox 360 was similarly priced when it launched back in 2005, while Sony’s PlayStation 3 was even more expensive when it was released the following year.
However, there are some notable differences between those launches and this one: to start, the Xbox 360 and PS3 gave gamers high-definition graphics years ago. Nintendo is only now catching up.
Second, when the Xbox 360 and PS3 launched, the global economy was relatively stable. One certainly can’t say that for today’s economic climate.