First new Nintendo console in 6 yrs.
- Last Updated: 12:39 AM, September 14, 2012
- Posted: 11:27 PM, September 13, 2012
Nintendo is Wii-inventing the video game.
The Japanese gaming giant yesterday unveiled pricing and a release date for its next-generation Wii U, which hits stores Nov. 18 and will sell for $299. A deluxe package with more memory will sell for $349.
While that’s $50 more than expected, the price won’t deter Nintendo’s most hard-core fans, who will buy the company’s first new console in six years no matter what the cost, predicted Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.
“There is a ton of demand for this thing at launch,” said Pachter, who estimates the company will sell as many as it can produce in the first six months, or about 6 million.
The Wii U is the first new console to arrive since the PlayStation 3 in 2006. Ever since, there has been growing competition for gamers’ attention. Mobile phones have spawned hits like “Angry Birds,” social networks have opened a new genre of casual gaming, and tablets are becoming ubiquitous.
“What the Wii is going to suffer is it will be first console to actually compete head to head with tablets,” Pachter said.
Nintendo is clearly aware of what it’s up against. The new console sports a tablet-like controller called the GamePad. But the controller needs to be within Wi-Fi connection of the console and cannot be played on the go like an iPad.
Pachter said the iPad Mini, which Apple is expected to release next month, would represent yet another challenge to Nintendo.
“No kid alive would rather have a Wii U than that — that’s a problem,” he said.
Nintendo also will have to compete with Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s XBox 360, which both are seeing discounts ahead of the Wii U. Those two competitors won’t have new consoles until next year at the earliest.
Still, analysts don’t expect the Wii U to linger on store shelves through the holidays. They say it could see the type of shortages that typically accompany Nintendo console launches.