Wii U to be Priced Higher than Xbox and Playstation 3 in Japan

Nintendo Co.'s new gaming console - Wii U

Nintendo's new gaming console - Wii U

Nintendo Co. is all set to sell its new Nintendo gaming console titled the Wii U in Japan at a price of $340 or 26,250 yen as the creator of the mega popular game title Super Mario looks to gain the lead in gaming from Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. and fend off smartphone and tablet manufacturers headed by Apple Inc.

Announcement of Details

According a webcast conducted by Satoru Iwata, the President of the company, on Thursday the new Nintendo gaming console will be available in two versions. Apart from the basic model of 8 GB, Nintendo will also bring out a new 32 GB version. Both models are expected to be launched on the 8th of December. The Japanese corporation will announce the launch date and the prices for the US market at an event to be held in New York City, beginning from 1400 GMT.

Nintendo Co. is introducing the successor to its bestselling Wii console during the busy year-end shopping rush, pitting the product against the likes of Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 and Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3. At the moment, prices on entry-level game consoles manufactured by the two companies in Japan are 19,800 yen and 24,980 yen.

The original version of the Nintendo Co.’s Wii took the entire gaming world by storm early in the year 2006 to become the largest selling new Nintendo gaming console in the world, with features such as motion-controlled gaming and a wide range of software titles that drew more interest, other than the core gaming community.

Market Scenario

Sales began to wane soon enough for the console that had become a 100 million machine jackpot for the Nintendo group. In the three months till the 30th of June, sales of its Wii range dipped by more than half to reach 710,000 units when compared to the 1.56 million sold just the year before.

The Nintendo Co.’s Wii U has been given a makeover similar to tablets, supported by two GamePad controllers. A function of social gaming network dubbed the “Miiverse” is also rumoured to be installed in the device. The Nintendo Co.’s Wii U is the first console the company has brought out in a span of six years apart from the being the first machine to be unveiled with a dedicated game title – “Super Mario” – in 16 years.

The company will face a hard time repeating the success it met with when the Nintendo Co.’s Wii was released as the company faces not only Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp., but has to contend with smartphone and tablet makers like Apple that are slowly eating their way into the gaming market worth $78 million. On Wednesday, Apple revealed the latest version of the New iPhone 5 boasting of a larger screen, superior definition and a wireless feature that permits users to view their smartphone games and images on television sets fitted with an Apple TV receiver.

At the moment, Nintendo Co. has managed to amass a big enough cash pile from the Wii boom amounting to around $14 billion to stick with its hardware plan. But if the Nintendo Co.’s  Wii U happens to meet with a loss due to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, analysts believe that the company may have to take into account the notion of leveraging its software assets by making Super Mario available across different devices built by other corporations. The new Nintendo gaming console which was first unveiled in June will carry video content from Amazon, YouTube, Hulu and Netflix.

Aubrey Chang
Aubrey Chang, Associate Editor Industry Leaders Magazine (www.industryleadersmagazine.com)

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