According to sources close to the manufacturing and assembly of the upcoming Wii U, it costs Nintendo an estimated $180 to manufacture each Wii U console including the controller). The Wii U controller is said to cost $50 to manufacture.
This is according to a rumor that originated on ForgetTheBox, where an unnamed source said that Nintendo is doing everything to cut the costs of the console, and that the company is determined to make a profit on each Wii U sold. The profit part makes a lot of sense: despite pricing the Wii aggressively since its launch in 2006, Nintendo has always made a profit on each console sold. Unlike other console makers like Sony and Microsoft, who took large losses in the beginning.
The rumor also mentions that the Wii U will indeed be getting an NFC chip, something we reported last year. The NFC chip costs Nintendo about $5 to implement, while the 1.3 megapixel camera in the controller costs $6.
Our take: it’s an “unnamed source”, so we can never be sure of these reports. However, the $180 price tag does not include royalties and licenses which Nintendo will have to pay out to other companies for technologies such as Blu-ray, WiFi, HDMI, etc. When taking into account packaging and distribution, these costs can easily push the total cost of the console to $200. With the various taxes and retailer fees included, Nintendo could arguably launch the Wii U at $250 with a tiny profit margin, or at $299 with a much larger profit margin. Previously, we reported that the Wii U would retail at $299.