Nintendo's home console can be yours for just $US299.99 starting September 20, the house of Mario announced today. That's a $US50 price cut for a console that's about to get a steady flow of Nintendo-made games but that's been struggling to sell at even half the pace of its predecessor.
The Wii U will sell in two models: the existing black deluxe model bundled with the pretty-good game compilation Nintendo Land or in a new Zelda model. An image of the latter leaked last week.
That Zelda console is black, but its GamePad controller is etched with Zelda-style script The bundle will also include vouchers to download a digital (duh) copy of the Hyrule Historia Zelda lore book and a copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.
Both consoles include 32GB of on-board flash memory. The system can be connected to self-powered hard-drives for more storage capacity.
"Obviously we want to drive Wii U momentum," Fils-Aime said of the reasoning behind the price drop. "We've been very clear that software is what drives hardware. And we feel very good about the line-up of software for Wii U. Taking the added step to improve the value just reinforces our commitment to make sure that Wii U has a strong holiday this year and is set up to be a strong platform into the future."
The Wii U has been struggling to catch on in its first year, a fact Nintendo, to their credit, isn't trying to hide.
"All you need to do is look at the numbers," Fils-Aime said. "At this point in time the Wii install base was beginning to approach three million — this is US numbers — and as we sit here today, the Wii U installed base is at about 1.5 million. So clearly the sales pace is different. But I will also tell you that the focus on making sure that this holiday — its second holiday — is really strong is actually quite consistent with the way we've always thought about our hardware launches."
Nintendo has all but phased out the white 8GB version of the Wii U, a system that retailers seemed to begin dumping this past spring. That "basic" version of Nintendo's console had originally sold for $US299, sans pack-in game. "That has largely sold through in the marketplace," Fils-Aime said. "There is not much of that particular configuration out and we don't expect there to be much at all come September 20."
Nintendo has not announced plans to bring a white 32GB version of the unit to North America.
For comparison's sake, PlayStation 3s and Xbox 360s in their various hard drive and game-bundle configurations range from $US200-$US300. The November 15-launching PS4 will cost $US400/$A549. The November-launching Xbox One will sell for $US500/$A599.
We will let you know of any changes to the Australian Wii U price shortly.