“In the end, the consumers are going to decide. So I’ll share this data with you. We’ve announced the price and we have a number of retailers taking pre-orders and the feedback that I’m getting from retailers is extremely strong in terms of pre-sales and consumer excitement at the store. In the end, I care about those people. I care about the consumer who’s putting money down on a pre-order and whether or not we’re presenting a great value to them. Based on some of the reports I’m getting, the answer is yes.”
It seems like dedicated Nintendo fans are in full hype for a New Super Mario Bros game and staying with the strong Nintendo brand, getting past the Wii U having less power than the Xbox 360 rumor. Regarding the price changes, compared to the Xbox’s price changes, Reggie Fils-Amie stated, “it’s not really an issue…” Game Industry News then redirects the question asking:
The pricing topic… [Reggie laughs]… I think Kindle, for example, coming out with their low cost tablets, and Apple with their announcements yesterday… we’re speaking of that value proposition, and it seems that while some consumers are okay going with higher hardware prices, they may expect a lower software cost – you see those dollar apps or $10 apps and things like that. How do you think Nintendo is shifting to perhaps get to that differing consumer philosophy on value?
Fils-Aime then defends the hardware and pricing stating,
We believe that when it comes to hardware, we want to pack a lot into the smallest price possible, so that’s why we don’t charge for additional services like some of our competitors do. That’s why we include the capability of video chat with the GamePad’s built-in cameras, for example. From that standpoint, we want to make sure the hardware is as strong a value as possible for as long as possible.
On the software front, what I would tell you is it’s important that we offer a range of software experiences that have a range of prices. Here today, we’re showing off three different digital experiences and we haven’t announced what those price points will be, but certainly they will be less than full price games. So we have to make sure that the value equation for what you get and what you pay is as strong as possible, whether it’s a smaller piece of digital content or whether it’s when a consumer buys Wii Fit U.
Game Industry News then asks the Wii U price point in terms of the Nintendo Land Bundle:
Reggie Fils-Aime: Nintendo Land plus the Deluxe Digital Program, which we think are two very strong elements that make the Deluxe bundle really attractive.
Game Industry News then asked about Nintendo’s direction of targeting Nintendo Land toward traditional gamers. Reggie Fils-Aime responds:
Well, I’m smiling because when we showed Wii Sports six years ago, the reactions from the industry were things like, “What if I want to play single-player tennis? Why do I always have to play doubles?” Or the reaction was, “Where are the arms? Where are the legs?” It was a focus on things that had absolutely nothing to do with the experience.
Regarding the price points, Fils-Amie stated:
“The way that we approach consumer value is we want to make sure we give the consumer a lot for what they pay, and when you look at that basic model you get the innovation in the GamePad (and all of the gaming options that presents), you get Miiverse in terms of a gaming community, you get Nintendo TVii, you get video chat… all of that is included in the base proposition. We think $299 is a really strong value, and it’s a value that’s going to be strong for a long time.
That gets into another one of our pricing philosophies; we don’t believe in pricing a product and then having to reduce the price some short time later. When we had to do that for 3DS, it was a very painful proposition for us. And what we did with the Wii at $249 and leaving it there for, I think, about three and a half years is very much consistent with our pricing philosophy.
In terms of profitability, we don’t comment on our internal byproduct P&L, but as a philosophy, we believe in making money on our hardware, even if it’s small amounts of money at the start. We don’t believe in losing a lot of money on hardware. I brought up 3DS – after the price cut, we were losing money on 3DS hardware and that’s what led to our posting our first operating loss ever as a public company.”
Fils-Amie stated that he also did not read what industry analysts had to say about the Wii U price, but stated that he was confident with their new generation’s port of Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.
Regarding the very competitive landscape of November holiday launch (Apple, and Kindle, etc..,) Game Industry News asks if Fils Amie is worried?
“I’m not concerned about it because that’s our responsibility. That’s what Nintendo of America has to do, as a sales, marketing and distribution company. We have to own that top of mind awareness with consumers and get them to say, “Yes, I need to spend my hard earned money on this machine and on its games.” I’m confident we’re going to get that job done.”
Q: We haven’t seen much about using two GamePads, and in the Japanese event last night, they had a price point for standalone GamePads.
Reggie Fils-Aime: The reason you don’t see games with two GamePads [at this event] is the technical ability to make two GamePads work was delivered to publishers after they started this current round of development. So you’ll see those two GamePad experiences at a later date; when those games are coming, that’s when we’ll make a separate GamePad available.
Look at it this way: when we’re preparing for launch, I need to make consoles and I need to make GamePads, and I need to put them together in a box to sell at retail. And if I’m using my inventory assembling GamePads that don’t support any games in the marketplace, all I’m doing is reducing my available inventory to sell on launch day.
Reggie Fils-Aime: Not here at launch.
So far, (there is much news to be announced still in two months) I am expecting the Wii U perform well… till March- the Wii U will attract Nintendo fans, children, and people who like young toys initially before stagnating a bit, not really appealing to anybody new till the new rumored sandbox Legend of Zelda comes out. Modern Warfare Reflex was an okay game, but did not really sell the console as so many people who wanted to play that game already played it on other consoles. Nintendo Land, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Scribblenauts Unlimited and Pikmin 3 might create good buzz.
What are your thoughts on the Wii U now? Comment below.