Opinion: A Suggestion for a Wii U Pricing Restructure

People buy the Wii U to play games.

If anything, given the bad reputation the console has been given for the past two years, the people buying the Wii U right now are only doing so to play games, and what better reason to buy a Nintendo console than to play a Nintendo game?

Yet when looking at the first-party titles available on the Wii U and coming to the console this holiday season, none have online multiplayer. Nintendo Land doesn’t, save for its Miiverse integration. Same goes for New Super Mario Bros. U – and New Super Luigi U for that matter. Neither does Lego City Undercover nor Game & Wario, again except for Miiverse integration. Same goes for Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101 as far as we’re informed, as well as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D Land and Wii Party U. Again, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Wii Fit U only have Miiverse integration for an online experience.


That’s actually 12 games in a year… No wonder I’ve been and will be pretty busy.

What I mean by this is pretty simple. Considering the fact that the main appeal of a Nintendo console are Nintendo games, the internet is not required to enjoy the Wii U, and this is my first argument to the following suggested re-pricing: pricing the Wii U at $/€299 at the counter and charging $/€50 on the console for a Nintendo Network ID.

You’ll notice I’ve said the Wii U and not the Deluxe Set (or Premium pack here in Europe). This is because I’m interested in what the price of the Wii U is perceived and believed to be. You just don’t call a console expensive by citing its cheaper $/€299 model but would rather deem the cheaper model to be “the […] version of the Wii U [not] worth buying” (as referred by Time). Instead, when judging the console expensive, outlets such as Gamesindustry.biz refer to the most expensive model and consider the “[value] of the [platform as] not truly balanced” when compared to the upcoming competition.

Here is how I would see the aforementioned change happening incrementally:

1)      Secretly discontinue the white Wii U Basic Set

This I believe is already happening. Though anecdotal, I once read from a UK retailer in a comment on that subject that of all the Wii U’s he had sold, only one was a Basic Set, the reason being the customer wanted the white color.

2)      Introduce a white Wii U “Definitive Set” with the new price structure

The new white “Definitive Set” would be similar to the current Deluxe Set. Included would be a Wii U with 32GB of storage, a Wii U GamePad, a console stand, a GamePad stand and a cradle, Wii U and GamePad AC adapters, an HDMI Cable and a Sensor Bar (AND the 8-hour battery). The Deluxe Digital Promotion would not apply, it would not be bundled with Nintendo Land, and would be sold at $/€299, introducing the $/€50 fee required to create a Nintendo Network ID. In the meantime, the Deluxe Set – the black model bundled with Nintendo Land – would still be sold for $/€349 in spite of the fact that the $/€50 fee would also apply to this model. However, the white Basic Set would be lowered to $/€249, same price as the Wii when it launched, while supplies last (also with the fee). From the “version of the Wii U not worth buying,” the Basic Set would then become a “bargain collector’s item.”


Maybe a white stand and a white charging cradle with this white model?

3)      Start discontinuing the black Wii U Deluxe Set

Clearing stocks for what is to come.

4)      Introduce a black version of the Wii U “Definitive Set”

This version of the “Definitive Set” would then gradually replace the Wii U Deluxe Set as the black model of the Wii U. It would actually be better if both “Definitive Sets” as I have called them so far would simply be branded as “the Wii U”  - clear and simple to avoid confusion – as the initial sets (Basic and Deluxe) would be no more; it then would only be the black and the white Wii U at $/€299.


Nintendo Network ID not included

No NNID doesn’t necessarily mean no Internet. Without an NNID, the following services would still be available:

-          Wii U Internet browser, to surf on the web with both screens

-          Wii U eShop, to buy digital offerings (games tied to hardware)

-          Wara Wara Plaza, to have a sneak peek on Miiverse and to encourage joining the Nintendo Network.

But here is what would be missed:

-          Miiverse, since an NNID is required to create a Miiverse profile

-          Wii U Chat, since you need an NNID to be called through it

-          Online gaming, since an NNID is required to log into the Nintendo Network’s servers.

The fact of the matter is, none of these additions are required, not even those services available without an NNID: they only enhance the existing experience. None of these are required to enjoy the Wii U’s “off-TV play” or “asymmetrical gameplay.” None of these are required to begin understanding the Wii U difference.

By giving Wii U customers the liberty to opt in the Nintendo Network on their own, the $/€50 NNID fee would allow Nintendo to satisfy the long-demanded price drop without altering their profits, all while unifying the current Wii U models under one model, two generic choices of color, a single attractive price – $/€299 – and the simple brand name of “the Wii U.”

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10 Comments to Opinion: A Suggestion for a Wii U Pricing Restructure
  1. Guek
    • Guek
    • A word from the editor: Luther’s musings in this article are certainly bold, and I knew immediately while reading his submission that not everyone would agree with his conclusions. If you feel strongly one way or another, feel free to talk about it in the comments or even submit your own response either challenging or reaffirming the article’s suggestions :-)

    • James
    • I’d just suggest dropping the basic model and making the deluxe $299.99. I’d hate to have to pay for online gaming :l

    • Tae
    • Alright, so you manage this and lock online content behind a $50 paywall. Nobody’s really losing out on anything terribly important. Miiverse and video chat are nixed. Now the first game with true online functionality rolls around and you have to sell people on paying twice to play it; once for the game and once more to unlock online mode. Cue the mass hysteria, excess criticisms, etc. and have fun reducing your potential pool of online players even more than normal.

    • wut_no_no_no
    • This is basically charging a one-time fee to unlock Miiverse and online multiplayer. And it’s silly.

    • Dv8thwonder
    • I agree that the basic model should be fazed out as soon as possible but I disagree about how the author went about it. The basic should be lowered to $250 and the premium to $300 while supplies last upon the release of the upcoming mid and later Summer 1st party releases. Once they are gone (let’s say mid October) lower the premium to $300 permanently to coincide with the Fall releases and Black Friday.

    • Andrew Cook
    • I agree the Basic Model should be fazed out (although it isn’t really as bad a deal as it’s made out to be since you’re getting a hard drive eventually regardless of whether your have 8GB or 32), but this is a little off the wall. Nintendo’s online isn’t perfect, but one of the best things about it is how accessible it is. After all the congratulations we’ve been giving Nintendo over NOT screwing their consumers like this, why ruin it now?

    • Joel
    • I think you’re making things a bit too complicated for both Nintendo and the consumers. Nintendo ID wall is a no-no in my book(and I bet to most Nintendo hardcore fans).

      Here’s wat I would do:
      - discontinue the 8gb model;
      - make the 32gb model available in both white and black(just like the iPad);
      - drop the price to €250/£220(in order to distance the Wii U enough from the PS4);
      - bundle Nintendo Land with every console;

    • Jade
    • I agree with Joel, Simplify simplify simplify!
      One model, two colours or even maybe drop a limited edition colour and lower the price by $50

    • Luther Tchofo Safo
    • I’m really glad for all of your feedback! And I really appreciate your remarks on all that I could have overlooked.

      My point was to find a solution in Wii U pricing that first and foremost is OK for Nintendo — “NO PRICE DROP” as they always and always say — and that clarifies to the consumer what exactly is the Wii U package and what its price really is. I have taken it to the NNID, but quite frankly I should have more simply meant just the Nintendo Network itself.

      The thing is, as I have put it in my article, the Nintendo Network so far is optional. I’ll come back to this a little in an hopefully upcoming article, but what Nintendo could do following my reasoning is instead of having to pay for the NN out of the box, there would be a free trial period of 1 month so that people who bought the console for an online game could directly play online without paying the one-time fee, then decide if they want to keep on playing online by providing or not providing the fee.

      The thing is, it’s actually even in Nintendo’s plans to have online free (though they do say they can’t guarantee it forever), but here are two issues. First of all, the online infrastructure is not a fixed cost like the components of the console, yet as much as the network grows it becomes ever more expensive, needing to be financed one way or the other, and I highly doubt software tie ratio on the Wii U will compensate that on the long run. The second, and what I think is the most prevalent issue, is that the Wii U was made from the ground up to be relatively cheap while powerful enough to supposedly stand strong this generation. Yet now, since both the PS4 and XBox One require to pay for online, the price you’ll see at the counter will be:
      - Wii U 350
      - PS4 400
      - XBox One 500
      And then all of a sudden, the Wii U seems expensive and it becomes forgotten that it is the only 8th generation console so far to have free online.

      What I’m suggesting widens the gap between the Wii U and the PS4 to one more significant and understandable, all while saying: “No, online is NOT free, it is a service and not the console, and unlike our competitors we are offering it as a one-time fee instead of a subscription.”

      Given the current and upcoming line-up of Nintendo games that I have outlined, I believe this a model that suits well the broader Nintendo audience, be it “hardcore” (online), or “casual” (local multiplayer).

    • KristaMat
    • I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also visit this weblog on regular basis to obtain updated from most recent news update.

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