Nintendo shareholders and fans don’t often share worries. Both groups for example are anxiously awaiting the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2, one because entries in the series produce close to $1 billion in sales over a couple of years, and the other because THIS ONE MIGHT BRING BACK THE HAMMER BROS. SUIT OMG! There worries don’t typically jive. The business-minded see a new Metroid and get concerned about profits, where fans wonder if it’ll properly depict Samus as a powerful bounty hunter in a skintight leotard.
In an unusual moment of shared purpose, both groups are worried about the Wii U being too expensive. The expectation is that Wii U will cost at least $300 when it comes out this fall, a hefty sum considering the device’s horsepower similarity to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Both groups can rest a bit easier about the price though as temporary retailer listings hint that Wii U will continue the Wii’s trend of keeping games themselves at more affordable prices.
NeoGAF user shinobi602 noted on Wednesday that Amazon’s listings for announced Wii U titles like Ninja Gaiden 3 and other, unconfirmed games like Tekken and Dirt are all listed at $49.99, making them $10 cheaper than new Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 titles.
Digital Trends reached out to Nintendo to see if the publisher could confirm that disc-based Wii U games would in fact be just $50. A Nintendo representative unsurprisingly told us, “Nintendo does not comment on rumors and speculation.”
There is however plenty of evidence to suggest that Nintendo will stick to that price point.
The first is the aforementioned price of Wii games. In 2005 and ’06 when the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 released, games retail openly embraced the $60 price point for new games, but Nintendo knew that its success would be in appealing to budget-minded consumers. Core games that spend big on games meanwhile would be mollified by a lower price because of the lower graphical fidelity of games on the system. Since the Wii U is positioning itself, like the Wii, as the low-tech console of the next generation of machines, it’s smart to continue the trend.
The other evidence is Nintendo’s stated commitment to keeping retailers happy as it transitions into a wider digital distribution business. The company said in its April announcement that Wii U games will be available as both discs and downloads that retailers were free to price digital games however they please. Cheap discs will keep people coming into stores, leading to solid sales as well as happy retail partners.