A post on Edge from yesterday reports that an executive director at Ubisoft, Alain Corre, thinks a price cut on Nintendo’s Wii U would help more games sell. For Corre, the Wii U’s price of $299/$349 is one of the factors preventing the console from more widespread adoption, which in turn is keeping game sales low:
“We always want the hardware to be at a low price because we want as many fans as possible to afford to buy our games, so that’s for sure. We think that Wii U will find its public at some point. Some were expecting sales to be quicker but we are optimistic.
I think Nintendo has said that the Wii U sales in general were below expectations originally and the software tie-in ratio is also stable, so I think that when less machines sell, less games sell.”
True! You can’t argue that logic at all. In fact, this isn’t the first time folks at Ubisoft have made some noise about the Wii U’s price. The company’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, criticized the machine’s price tag shortly before its launch late last year. And sales numbers haven’t been crazy-good by any stretch of the imagination, so it’s not tough to make a connection between the console’s price and its lackluster performance so far.
However: while I have complaints about the Wii U, the price is far from one of them. In fact, the Wii U is probably one of the most reasonably priced game consoles to come out for a while. I barely blinked when they announced the $299 and $349 price points, and the $60 games aren’t too much of a hardship either. Even better: the system is compatible with many of the accessories from its predecessor, the Wii, and the GamePad is rechargeable via an included AC adapter, driving costs down yet again. So…in what universe is the Wii U too expensive? Maybe it’s pricey considering its capabilities when compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but other than that, $300 for a new video game system at launch is pretty competitive in my estimation.
The problem, I think, is pretty simple: a lack of games. After New Super Mario Bros. U and Ubisoft’s ZombiU, there haven’t really been any exciting exclusive games to come out for the system. Without a key piece of exclusive software—like the Xbox’s Halo or the PlayStation’s God of War, for example—there’s little incentive for a gamer to pick it up. Nintendo would’ve been well-served to have some really amazing first-party software that did something new and different. NSMBU is a fantastic game, but most people have seen it before in one form or another, so it’s hardly going to set their world on fire.
By all accounts (and based on my limited time with the demo), Ubisoft’s own Rayman Legends was going to be a pretty killer app for the system. It got delayed from launch to March. Then from March to September—and was no longer exclusive. To me, Rayman Legends was one of the most exciting pieces of software slated for the Wii U, at least the one I was most excited about. And Ubisoft itself has itself taken it out of the equation for moving consoles.
A price cut would surely move systems—but great, exclusive games like Rayman Legends would probably help, too.