The console business is cut-throat. We’ve seen what happens when a manufacturer fails to yield to pricing trends and providing value above the competition and this year, Nintendo finds itself in a precarious situation. Earlier this year in January, Microsoft dropped the price of the Kinect-less Xbox One to just $349, putting it within $50 bucks of the numerous Wii U bundles Nintendo has released.
Today, Sony has announced that it will be dropping the price of the PlayStation 4 down to–you guessed it–$349 for the basic bundle, with higher prices for bundles that include newer games. This drop in price puts Nintendo’s competition within $50 bucks on both sides of the aisle, meaning it’s going to become a lot easier for families to choose one of its competitors that has decent third-party support over a pure Nintendo system.
Don’t get me wrong, Nintendo has some great games that are absolutely worth playing. Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros., Splatoon and Super Mario Maker are all excellent titles with excellent support, but in today’s gaming world, the appeal of Mario and the Inklings isn’t enough to justify the purchase of a Wii U as the first console in the home unless you’re already very familiar with Nintendo products. Most parents aren’t, or want to play games that Nintendo just doesn’t offer.
The Wii managed to succeed so well partly because it was priced much lower than its competitors. Toward the end of its life cycle, you could pick up a Wii Mini with Mario Kart Wii for only $100 bucks. That’s cheaper than some of the tablets that are now replacing consoles as gifts during the holidays. That pricing disparity often meant that homes had two consoles, either an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 to play third-party games, while kids and family could enjoy the Wii as a family activity.
Nintendo tried hard with the Wii U to make a console that would appeal to what the industry labels “hardcore gamers”, those attracted to the Xbox and PlayStation platforms because of the wide berth of games available to play. Nintendo has enjoyed no such luck however, as third-party support from publishers like Activision, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft has all but disappeared.
While there are still a handful of Nintendo games worth waiting for with the Wii U, if Nintendo wants to remain competitive this holiday season, a price drop to at least $250 should be considered for the company, especially now that there are games that are actually worth playing for extended periods of time thanks to timely updates and attention to detail.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.
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