No Wii For The Kids: Hidden Costs Compel Console Return

It could have happened to any man with any console. But for Chris O'Brien, newspaper columnist, it happened with the Wii. The father of two bought his kids a Wii for Christmas, but returned it. Too many hidden costs.

The San Jose Mercury News columnist recently explained the sticker shock that had him returning his $US199 Wii and all the stuff he felt he had to buy along with it.

Hmmm. One controller + two kids = eye-gouging fights Christmas morning. I knew I needed another one, which cost $US49.

Then I began looking for a couple of games to go with it. I knew we'd be paying a bit more for these. But as I looked at some games we wanted, like "Lego Rock Band," I realised that I needed other controllers, like a microphone, drums or guitar. These could run another $US100 or more if I got all of them. So I passed and didn't get any games, figuring they could just play the games that came with it for now.

As I examined the box, I realised that I had forgotten that the Wii could also be connected to the Web. The problem here was that our cable modem is in the kitchen (don't ask) and the TV is in the living room. Guess that's a headache I'd have to figure out later.

As I was finally checking out, the cashier asked if I wanted any batteries. "Batteries? For what?" I wondered. She explained that the controllers ran on batteries. Gulp. I grabbed a package of rechargeable batteries, for about $US30.

Having spent about $US90 more than I expected, I had a few knots in my stomach on the way home and was kicking myself for not doing my research. Bad columnist. Bad.

He talked to his wife about it and returned everything.

If you want to know how O'Brien's Wii-less Christmas went, read the rest of his column. Gaming consoles may be dropping in price, but they never are as "cheap" as the price tag says, no?

O'Brien: Why we didn't get a Wii [San Jose Mercury News]


    it proves retards should stick away from consoles

    Is this guy stupid? If you are going to buy a game with peripherals it's going to cost more. There is also no compelling reason to connect to the internet unless you really want to.
    The only real two 'hidden' costs are batteries and the extra controller - and a minimal amount of research would have resolved these - like asking the sales assistant at the point of purchase. I swear you become a parent and the analytical thinking portion of your brain shuts down.

      the wii is the worst offender though.

    USD$30 for batteries?? Fark.

    Further down in the article "Our attempts at gender-neutral parenting have not been 100 percent successful"...

    ...and "The graphics are richer than anything I could have imagined back in my Atari days. Why shell out $10 to $30 for new games when there are so many free kids games online at places like the Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network sites?"...

    He's comparing flash games online to being better than back in his "Atari days", so his kids just have to grin and bear it?!

    Sounds like a knob.

      Also at the bottom there's a summary:

      Reasons the O'Briens didn't get a Wii this Christmas:
      2. Still have not figured out official family policy for the amount of time kids would be allowed to play Wii each week.

      You'd think this was rocket science or something...

        It's easy as pie to work out... I have a 6 year old, he's in grade 1.

        He plays outside til it's dinnertime. (5pm)
        He has dinner.
        He has a bath.
        He gets into his pyjamas.

        He has to get any homework done, then he can play games til his bedtime (7.30)

        It's THAT EASY. Christ, Im no genius and that took me like 2 minutes to work out when I got our wii for my boy originally when he was like 3 (the homework came later)

    From the article:

    "First of all, had there been a Wii, it would have overshadowed every single other gift."

    Don't buy the other gifts that would be overshadowed by the superior one, and then you can spend the money saved on buying an extra controller and Lego Rockband ... problem solved.

    Also, I fear for this guys phsychological condition if he suffers a panic attack over buying a Wii for his kids ... have fun in their teens pal!

      "Don’t buy the other gifts that would be overshadowed by the superior one, and then you can spend the money saved on buying an extra controller and Lego Rockband … problem solved."

      So true. I bought my kid 2 games for christmas (2 cheapies from Gametraders, Rayman Rabbid Tv Party and Force unleashed Wii) and GI Joe on Bluray for our bluray player (no ps3) and he was ecstatic. Throw in a bunch of stocking filler such as lollies and a few tshirts and theres your damn christmas. 'Overshadowed presents'... pshaw.

    "Batteries? For what?"
    Are you serious? Does he think wireless technology runs on magic energy dust that floats around the house?

      Wait, you mean my Wii doesn't run on magic dust floating around the house?!

        Wiimotes eat fish, birds, mammals and occasionally smaller wiimotes to gain power. Wiimotes possess a form of homing instinct. Many large Wiimotes swallow stones (called gastroliths or stomach stones) which may act as ballast to balance their body or assist in crushing food, similar to grit in birds. This helps the Wiimote keep its bearing.

          Oh man that is good to know, the Wii is going to save me a fortune on my cholecystectomy.

      Perhaps he assumed it would come with batteries, like many other portable consumer electronics devices do (e.g. Nintendo DS, PSP, iPods, etc).

      It isn't that bad an assumption.

    You are all waaaaaay too critical. This guy is not a gamer, he doesn't know that games cost US $60 and that the Wii, and Nintendo suck the blood of their consumers.

    He is 100% right.

    When you buy a Wii, you have to set aside like $700 for peripherals if you want to play more than 3 games, and considering that most out for the Wii are mini game compilations, you can probably (edit: definitely) get more enjoyment out of Newgrounds.

      $700?? We have 12 Wii games and the only peripheral we purchased was a second wiimote and nunchuck and batteries - total $90. And my kids have a blast on the wii, still enjoying it 12 months later, and whenever friends or the grandparents visit, they all get involved. Much more social and more fun than playing games online sitting at a desk.

    You'd think a journalist would be capable of looking up a few reviews - lego rock band seriously?? He could have picked up mario galaxy and boom blox cheaply and that would have kept the kids going for months.

    Plus any parent who goes tiptoeing around avoiding confrontation with their kids is asking for trouble - kids need to be able to accept a "no" every now and again.

    So I guess Journalism doesn't pay that well hey? What a tard, no, everything is free after you buy the console, Nintendo totally will pay for any new games you want, of course they'll hand you more controllers and peripherals when you need them, and batteries? Well Nintendo will send you fresh batteries in the mail every in a fantasy world, there's no such thing as hidden costs, just people who can't/won't read the fine print or do their research. It's like the people complaining about their mobile internet charges once they exceed their included data, no service is free, everything has a price.

    Can you simply return something because it has hidden costs?

    Gaming can be expensive, news at 11.

    Seriously? Idiot. Plus, sounds like the staff there saw him coming and gouged him. No sympathy here, it's not hard to either do a little research on the internet or ask people for advice.

    You wonder why gamers dislike the casual market? Tards like this.

    What a r-tard. The rock band peripherals are not a hidden cost. U want a specific game that requires that specific controller. There were PLENTY of cheaper games.

    Batteries?? Really? a hidden cost... give me a break.

    2ndd Controller - How is this a HIDDEN cost. If he didnt realised from the beginning he would need a 2nd controller is a freaking spacer with nothing in the middle.

    Seriosuly that journalist... man. Hes prob using a 1993 Color TV because theres a hidden cost in buying Component cables or something.

    This guy is a bit naive.

    On the other hand there was an article on this site a few months back that summed all the hidden costs (controllers, rechargers etc) for the 3 main consoles once they are decked out as a normal person would need them. Wii was the most expensive in the end although it had the lowest shelf price. That's deceptive.

    (I can't be bothered finding the article, sorry).

    This guy would pass on a DVD player after finding out that getting more DVD's to put in it cost money.

    Was he buying nuclear batteries? Bar that, it just smacks of poor research. If you're going to outlay that kind of cash you read reviews and other things that talk about cost. Especially if it's gifts for your kids - you want the best quality for the best price and something that doesn't escalate.

    He sounds like one of those guys where life is just too difficult for him

    whinge whinge whinge

    what a knob

      exactly my sentiment

      its for your kids' Xmas present, I bet his wife's got him under her thumb, and shortly after returning the Wii she will ask him to get her a handbag for xmas or something

    Are you serious? My parents are as tight as they come and they bought a Wii for my little sisters and extra controllers and games.

    Tight arse... thats akk i have to say.

    I stopped reading at: "...and keeping them from becoming techno-obsessed shut-ins who spend all day online and have no friends."

    I'm pretty sure journalists learn to research things before writing articles about them...
    I mean seriously, this person is feeding news to people regularly?

    When I bought my Wii a while back, the person at EB who was selling it to me was very helpful - because of the sheer amount of stuff I was buying (console, extra Wiimote, nunchucks for both, Zelda, Smash Bros, 'HD' cable, gamecube controller, etc), he managed to knock about $50 off the price, and throw in a few freebies.

    Look: O'Brien is a schmuck. He thought he was being clever by featuring the tech gizmo of the minute, and also be postmodern by rejecting it. He is a proper newspaper journo, with all the lack of wit, irony, flexibility and humanity that come with it. No reasonable person would expect that there would be no extra costs involved, the same as you dont budget to buy a car for its ticket price. Someone just got very lazy and decided to get his weekly wage for writing some rubbish about how much a technotard they are. Not only has he robbed his own kids of a Wii- they will in all probability be ostracized in the playground now- but he has advertised the fact that he is as tight as a cats proverbial. Way to go, O'brien.

    This is why I got a PS3 instead of a Wii.

    The PS3 is the poorman's console.

    Get the console get a game and you are off!

    Simple as that.

    To get the most out of the Wii you'll spend around $800 with all of that crazy add-ons and peripherals. That s two PS3s already.

    Nice try Nintendo but it's good that people are now waking up to reality.

      That's exactly my point! (See above)

      To get the all I could out of the console, first I had to buy cables so that the thing could look slightly less shit on my screen, then we had to buy both halves of 2 controllers, and then another third half when the gyroscope came out. Soon they'll be selling the cases for the games separately and at an added cost, and then remove the power cord from the box so that you have to buy that separately too. For such a low-spec piece of hardware, you'd think that the cost would be at least justified by not making you have to buy friggin cables separately.

    My car are requiring petrol to move? HIDDEN COST!


      Bahahaha, nice call.

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