Rumor of the Morning: Wii U Manufacturing Costs Estimated
A post on Forget the Box from yesterday offers price details about Nintendo’s forthcoming Wii U console from “sources closely involved with manufacturing and distributing Nintendo products,” who claim that the components of the system will cost $180. The source also claims that the controller’s total costs are “no more than $50.”
When all is said and done, Nintendo will set a price of no less than $300 when the system retails sometime this year, the source estimates.
Said the source:
“Cutting production costs to maximize profits is Nintendo’s main concern with the Wii U. They are cutting costs in the Wii U’s hardware to build back confidence in investors. Nintendo wants investors to view Wii U as a less risky proposition.”
While we’ve got little to no information to confirm these claims, it would seem to jibe with earlier rumored reports from developers that the Wii U’s graphics power will be somewhat less than that of the current crop of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles.
The source added that the Wii U controller’s camera will cost about $6, and are of “slightly better quality than the 3DS and DSi cameras,” and that the touch screen’s manufacturing costs are estimated at $14.
The source is quoted again about the system’s processing hardware:
“Nintendo chose an economical GPU and CPU that could keep up with the performance of today’s current consoles, but keep hardware costs down to maximize profits. Nintendo got a bargain price on the custom GPU and CPU that the Wii U uses. There is a bigger focus on downloadable content, applications, video content, digital distribution, and services to create a stream of revenue. Investors will be ecstatic with the news.”
To me, all of this sounds just fine. A home console that costs $300 is just in that sweet spot of affordability in my book. The fact that the new system would cost consumers roughly the same as the relatively old Sony and Microsoft systems, but would offer the much-vaunted new gameplay elements and some new, interesting gameplay innovations sounds like a smart decision on the part of Nintendo.
It’s been pretty clear for the past several years that the company’s fortunes have been made not through graphical powers but through technical innovation to offer new experiences for players. The Nintendo Wii was a smash hit—and that thing had graphics that basically look like garbage on HD TVs. If the Wii U can incorporate the old system’s Wii remotes (since so many homes already have them) and the fancy-schmancy new touch screen controller stuff, I foresee a pretty solid performance when/if the system launches this holiday season.
At this point, I realize, I’m rambling. Also, it’s entirely possible that all of this is BS, and that the Wii U will cost $700 and will have the power of 20 Xbox 360s with a 3DS strapped to the top. Or something.
But if these cost estimates are true, what do you think? Would you pay $300 for the Wii U system, given what we know about what the console will do? Or are you in it for technology pushing graphical prowess?