This is the big, make-or-break question that will determine whether Nintendo has another hit on its hands. The original Wii is the best selling console of this generation. Part of that had to do with its accessible motion controls and appeal to casual gamers, but the price tag was also a contributing factor. With an original RRP of $399, it was less than half the price of the Sony PlayStation 3.
The Wii U is unlikely to be as attractively priced as its predecessor; the addition of Full HD graphics and those tablet controllers are sure to ramp the price up. But by how much? That's the million dollar question.
The tablet controller probably won't come cheap...
At the time of writing, Nintendo has not given a firm RRP for its new console, but comments made by the company sound quite promising. Speaking toNintendo America's president Reggie Fils-Aime stated that the Wi U's price would be “a fantastic value.”
In an interview with a Japanese newspaper, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said that the Wii U would cost "more than 20,000 yen [about US$250] when it goes on sale next year.” Note the use of the words "more than".
Meanwhile, UK online retail store Zavvi.com is offering pre-orders of the Wii U for £399.85 ($616). "Price shown is an estimate and will be subject to change upon Nintendo's announcement," the website explains.
In other words, they pulled the price out of thin air - but it's interesting to see what retailers are expecting it to sell for.
We've yet to have any 'hands-on' time with the Wii U, so it's impossible to say how it will work in practice. That said, we think Nintendo deserves props for thinking outside the box again - it would have been a lot easier (not to mention safer) to release a revamped Wii with HD capabilities. Instead, they've gone for an entirely new control scheme influenced by the rise in tablet gaming.
Whether this gamble pays off for the Nipponese gaming giant remains to be seen, but if the past has taught us anything, it's that Nintendo knows what it is doing; particularly when it comes to game controllers.
After all, this is the same company that invented or popularised the d-pad, the analogue stick, rumble feedback and motion control in gaming. If anyone can make a tablet/console hybrid work, it's Nintendo.