Why Nintendo Is Dodging Wii U Launch Details
Posted on Wednesday, August 29 @ 09:27:47 PST by Anthony Severino
While things are certainly looking up for the 3DS, the company's financials have been much cause for worry—both by investors and by fans wondering if Nintendo can turn their woes around. Needless to say, Nintendo has a lot riding on the Wii U.
We're only days away from the beginning of the Fall season, a season historically filled with high profile releases month after month starting in September. Nintendo is poised to release their newest creation, the Wii U, some time leading up to the holiday climax. It's estimated that November is the month they're eyeing, but no one knows for sure—Nintendo just isn't talking.
Two E3s have passed since the initial Wii U debut, and while it's certainly reasonable that final specs, launch details and price point weren't revealed at the 2011 debut, E3 2012 would have been a good fit for such an announcement. Instead, Nintendo's conference was ho-hum. Not only did they neglect to offer any juicy details on the Wii U, they even held the 3DS XL's announcement for the following weeks.
But still, why nothing on the Wii U?
Nintendo Direct(ly) Avoiding Confrontation
Last night, Nintendo held a Nintendo Direct live stream, but before the stream commenced, Nintendo hedged expectations by letting it be known that no new Wii U info would be discussed.
Nintendo holds an annual conference in Japan each September ahead of Tokyo Game Show. This... this has to be it, right?
President Satoru Iwata took to Twitter already to squash speculation that the Wii U's launch details could be finalized and announced duing the conference.
Hearing that, it seems that Nintendo is still not ready let the cat out of the bag. But why? Here are a few reasons Nintendo may be holding back for this long.
The Price Is Right... Or Is It?
The Nintendo Wii (costing the same as the 3DS) is the most expensive console in Nintendo history at $249.99 launch pricing. And even though by today's technology, the Wii U isn't using the most powerful hardware components, it's still going to be costly.
Exacerbating the pricing uncertainty, is the Wii U's tablet-like Gamepad controller. Utilizing tech such as direct streaming or Near Field Communication, plus having a touch screen all of its own, is going to raise the price of the Wii U's initial investment significantly.
Pricing the Wii U too high could be detrimental to gaining an install base, and it will be in direct competition with the PS3 and Xbox 360, both of which are just dollars away from breaking into that mass-market pricing threshold.
Keeping the price to a mimimum is a must for Nintendo, and they may not yet be confident in their pricing model. There is a delicate balance here that must be maintained. They're already taking losses, pricing it too low could scare stock holders too much, while pricing it too high could drive consumers away.
Supply Can't Meet Demand
It's been rumored that Nintendo is struggling with supply. This is almost always an issue with any new console release, and has proven bad enough with previous consoles (think the PS3) to be forced to delay the console in one region entirely. And even though European markets are making Nintendo the most money now-a-days (the dollar is too weak and the yen is too strong), they'll likely take the hit.
Even the regions that do see a Wii U release before December may have a mimimal supply stockpiled, keeping initial sales numbers and install base thin moving into 2013—when newer, bigger, badder consoles are expected to release.
Software Sells The Hardware
The 3DS may be doing just fine now, at launch, it was all doom and gloom. Everyone was saying that the 3DS was toast. And this was due to the severe lack of compelling software available for the newly launched hardware. Nintendo seems to have learned from this and appears to be building quite a line-up for the Wii U at launch, but because nothing has been set in stone, it's difficult to have confidence here just yet.
Although, this is likely the least of Nintendo's worries for the Wii U.
Price and Launch Details Coming Soon
But like the beginning of this article says, November is getting closer and closer. There is only so much longer Nintendo can hold out. Soon, Nintendo will break that big question mark block, and let the flood gates of Wii U launch details flow. It's only a matter of time.
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