As the old saying goes, “there’s no time like the present”, and that may certainly be the case for the struggling Nintendo Wii U, as Nintendo has quite a few AAA titles on the way for the system, as well as an impending price cut.
A few days ago, Nintendo announced that as of Sep. 20, it would be dropping the price of the deluxe edition of the Wii U by $50, essentially making the console $299.99, while the standard edition is getting phased out. Surely this is a direct response not only to subpar sales of the system but also to the upcoming releases of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which obviously will look to entice gamers for the holiday shopping season.
There’s no doubt that a new console release, and in this case two of them, garner a ton of attention, while the current-gen systems still have some great games on the way in the coming months such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and Grand Theft Auto V, just to name a few. For Nintendo, it would be very easy to get lost in the shuffle during this last quarter of 2013, even without the release of the Xbox One and PS4, but with everything that is on the horizon, many gamers might not give the console a second though. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool console, and I personally have one – one that I do use frequently to play such excellent games as Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Rayman Legends, New Super Mario Bros. U (yes I still play it, especially with the Luigi DLC) and of course my Virtual Console titles. Still, the console has been struggling to maintain itself in the public eye and the message about the system being different from the Wii is still sometimes lost for many casual gamers, though Reggie Fils-Aime argues that it’s not the name, but the aforementioned lack os software.
In an interview with Kotaku, Fils-Aime says, “the challenges we’re facing with Wii U are not issues of the name…the issue is the lack of a steady rate of software launches to motivate the consumer to drive buzz and engagement and to highlight the wide variety of uses of the GamePad. That’s the issue.” It’s pretty hard to argue that point.
However, Nintendo isn’t one to simply roll over and after a paltry launch lineup, the company is finally prepping itself to get some much needed software on the Wii U in the months to come. We have of course the upcoming remake of The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, which is arriving in full HD with a few gameplay tweaks that should improve the experience. We can’t also forget that a bundle is coming out with Wind Waker HD and a Zelda themed Wii U for the same $299 price in late September. There’s also of course Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins and Watch_Dogs, just to name a few. Don’t forget Skylanders SWAP Force either, which we fully expect to do quite well.
It’s true that software drives console sales and for Nintendo, the Q4 lineup is a much needed boost to its console, while other games like the next Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart are also in the works. So for gamers, or parents of gamers who are going to be looking at what to buy this holiday season, a $299 Wii U might not look so bad, especially compared to the $399 price tag of the PS4 or the whopping $499 price of the Xbox One. What might also help Nintendo this holiday season is the launch line-ups of both next-gen consoles, which do include some solid titles, but aren’t exactly must-haves when you consider many of them are going to be on current-gen systems. That’s not to say there aren’t any games I’m not personally looking forward to because there are – games such as Ryse, Forza 5, Killer Instinct, and Killzone Shadow Fall, to be exact, but for gamers on a budget, it might be a tough sell.
At the end of the day, choice is what matters and so long as Nintendo offers up enticing options for gamers at a cheaper price but with games that people want to play, it will set itself up to once again be a player in this new generation of consoles.
So if you haven’t yet, will you be picking up a Wii U after Sep. 20?