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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nintendo Wii U launch details: Five reasons I'm worried

Nintendo has officially detailed its Wii U launch details with an online presentation in Japan. Now, bearing in mind that I am still quite keen to see how this all rolls out and I can’t wait to try the console for myself, I have some deep concerns about this launch considering how critical it is that Nintendo gets the Wii U off to a quick start.

Here’s my five main concerns:

1) The price. It’s never a precise science to use exchange rates, as console prices do vary greatly between region, but according to the exchange rate, the Wii U will cost $335 for the basic model, and $405 for the premium one.

Please note that this is only marginally less expensive than the iPad. For a piece of electronics that will be seen as a complete luxury if Nintendo wanted to attract families or non-gamers to buy this console, like they did with the Wii (which had the fortune to launch before the iPad), then this price is, frankly, excessive. Fingers crossed for some deep discounts outside of Japan.

2) The paid online subscription. Nintendo’s track record for online goes from average to horrific, and now they want us to pay for the privilege. Of course the Wii U’s online infrastructure is going to be superior to the previous consoles, but the problem is in convincing other people to give it a go. (note: this one has been proven to be false. Thanks to the readers for pointing it out!)

3) No bundle-in game. What got the Wii off to such a great start was Wii Sports. It showed off the technology, and psychology helped to convince people that the price of the console was fair – after all the consumer was getting a “free” game with it.

Of course, the Wii didn’t launch with a bundle-in game in Japan either, so there’s every chance that the US launch will include what should be a critical way to boost initial interest.

4) So little built-in storage. The expensive Wii U bundle has just 32 GB of internal storage. For anyone with a PS3 or Xbox 360 connected to the download shops, that is entirely inadequate. I guess we can kiss goodbye to those 15GB download retail game options.

5) Launch date in December? Japan will likely launch with the rest of the world for that date, but that seems to be a bit too close to Christmas. A bit of retail theory here: you want about a month to sell a Christmas product to maximise the launch sales cycle. Nintendo’s given the Wii U about half that time.

I have my fingers crossed that this is not a Nintendo 3DS launch version 2, but I have my concerns. What did you all think about this launch (click here for the summary)?
Nintendo Wii U launch details: Five reasons I'm worried
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