Nintendo’s Wii U to start at $300

We already know the upcoming Wii U console won’t dramatically exceed the graphical fidelity of current-gen consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. And we all know it doesn’t take much to outdo seven-year-old hardware these days. Surely, that means the Wii U is going to be really affordable. Right?

Yeah, not so much. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has confirmed that the Wii U will start at $300 when it arrives stateside on November 18. The premium model will cost $350.

Now, to be fair to Nintendo, the Wii U isn’t just a simple hardware upgrade over the Wii. It’s going to ship with a brand-new controller, the GamePad, which has a 6.2″ display and is designed to augment the traditional gaming experience. The Wii U will also take a page out of the Xbox 360’s playbook by integrating Netflix and Hulu Plus. Amazon’s video-on-demand offering will be on the menu, too, and the Journal says the Wii U will be able to interact with TiVo DVRs.

Still, $300 is a lot for a console that will probably pale in comparison to Microsoft’s and Sony’s next-gen offerings. Perhaps that doesn’t matter yet, though. After all, those devices still aren’t out, and they presumably won’t be for a while yet. Nintendo is going to be first out of the gate with new hardware this cycle, which may give it more room to overcharge. The company could then enact swift price cuts once truly next-gen hardware hits stores.

Comments closed
    • paulWTAMU
    • 7 years ago

    I could imagine lots of ways to make the original Wii controller a kick-ass innovation…most of the time though, it wasn’t. It was an annoying gimmick in the bulk of games I tried (and a truly awesome thing in a rare handful). I can’t even easily imagine how to make the tablet controller thing as neat as the motion controller…and given how badly a lot of developers botched THAT I’m not optimistic for the whole tablet controller concept.

      • khands
      • 7 years ago

      If some one manages to even half-ass this [url<]http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2012/09/10[/url<] I would buy it just for that.

    • puppetworx
    • 7 years ago

    Wildly speculative prediction: this will be Nintendo’s last console.

      • SPOOFE
      • 7 years ago

      Does your prediction include portables? Just curious.

        • puppetworx
        • 7 years ago

        No, but I think that portables will dry up soon too. They’re redundant in the face of smartphones/tablets with easy access to all kinds of content from games to video. They also have established app markets that a Nintendo device couldn’t compete with.

          • Pettytheft
          • 7 years ago

          The more I play smartphone/tablet games the more I see how limited they are. I think this market might got the way of Zynga. A bunch of cheap casual copies that people get tired of. It’s rare that I find a smartphone game that is not something I played on Newgrounds years ago.

      • khands
      • 7 years ago

      Might be the last console generation period. If this coming one lasts as long as this last one did, we’ll have convergence right around the corner.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    I think many folks will still find the Wii U an exciting buy at the store. The gamepad, which is practically a tablet, is, I believe, the single feature that will most probably rake the buyers in, and keeps up with the times as tablets are pretty much everywhere nowadays. I think Nintendo is right in evolving the gamepad which has been steadily evolving since the days of 8-bit machines, adding more buttons, lights, wireless connectivity, vibration, accelerometers, etc. And although the computational power of the console itself may not be head and shoulders above what we have now, it’s quite apparent that the Wii U is targeted at more casual gamers which probably, according to Nintendo’s market research, appears to be the most compelling market segment Nintendo would like to serve. With casual gamers, graphics prowess is not the topmost priority. We see it everyday: people are ok with Farmville, Popcap games, etc. Indeed, I do believe that today’s graphics, even without trying to be realistic (read: hardcore games like Crysis), are already very pretty for most folks. Not everyone is looking for photo-realistic graphics, and games can very well still be fun even without photo-realistic graphics. Pretty cartoonish graphics with pretty colors work well enough to entertain casual gamers. I think Nintendo understands this fact very well. Obviously the Wii U can put out serious graphics but I don’t think it’s Nintendo’s top priority.

      • BestJinjo
      • 7 years ago

      Exactly. They went after hardcore gamers with the N64 which was more powerful than the PS1 and lost that generation. The Gamecube was also more powerful than PS2 in terms of GPU hardware, but again didn’t sell well at all. Wii was very underpowered and instead sold 90+ million units so far. Nintendo realized they can create interest in the untapped market. The question is how many of these casual gamers will want to buy the Wii U now that they already have the Wii? I think that’s a real risk here.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Nyup, that price hike definitely is the early adopter price. I’m sure it’ll go down once Sony and MS come up with something.

    • Alexko
    • 7 years ago

    “We already know the upcoming Wii U console won’t dramatically exceed the graphical fidelity of current-gen consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.”

    We do?

    • Digex
    • 7 years ago

    ” Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg revealed the system is capable of running a game like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 at full 1080p HD and 60 frames per second, which compares favorably to the 720p output for the game on the aging Xbox 360″

    Not really cutting edge but definitely better.

    • swaaye
    • 7 years ago

    Over on B3D the discussion has turned into a question of just what can be done with performance when there is only a 40mm fan cooling the device.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Cool, now I know to avoid a site where the discussion becomes that stupid.

        • swaaye
        • 7 years ago

        It also has a 75W power brick, apparently with 45W typical consumption. Combine that with a 40mm fan that needs to be fairly quiet and I think it gives an interesting perspective on what the limitations may be.

        But don’t let that stop you from being a dick.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        HEY MAN!!! WHAT’S GOING ON?

    • Duck
    • 7 years ago

    Can’t understand the design on this Wii U. It seems like they are trying to innovate, and this is the best they could come up with. You don’t need to look at the controller. To play a game, you focus on the big screen in front of you.

    It’s like putting a little LCD display on your keyboard. If you have one, people can find uses for it I’m sure. But it’s basically just a waste of money, and a very questionalbe design with very limited use and value.

      • dstrbd
      • 7 years ago

      I agree with a display on a controller being something that will rarely be used and end up being cumbersome. The Sega Dreamcast had a display on its controller almost 15 years ago, albeit not in color with a very low rez and integrated into the memory card, and I found it annoying to have to change your focus from something close to something farther away.
      The only advantages I can see for a display on a controller would be on a head to head sports or strategy title.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 7 years ago

        You mean it was absolutely the best feature EVER for a football game….Part of what made NFL2K series on the DC the best experience possible.

          • dstrbd
          • 7 years ago

          Yes, you are right, it’s just that I never had many friends or family that enjoyed playing video games so I always had to play by myself.

        • khands
        • 7 years ago

        They’re really pushing asynchronous gameplay here, and I think that has huge potential given their hardware, it’s just a matter of developers using it.

      • BestJinjo
      • 7 years ago

      To me it looks like you have a Nintendo 3DS + a Wii U console in one. In many places around the world, kids have to share their TV with their parents. Not everyone lives in a 1st world country where they have 2-4 TVs. When the parents want to use a TV, the kids can still play games on the Wii U GamePad.

      Also, like you said you don’t need to look at the controller all the time when gaming on a big screen. With it then you still get a far more modern and powerful Wii U console vs. PS3/360. While I agree that after PS4/Xbox next launch, life could become very difficult for the Wii U, after the Wii U launches, it’s questionable why anyone would waste $250-400 on a 6-7 year old PS3/360 instead.

      Especially since Black Ops II is already running at 1080P 60 fps and the developers have had no time at all even learning how to optimize for the Wii U. Clearly the console is far superior already than current ones.

      Then you have Nintendo TVii which is a pretty neat feature and it comes for free on the Wii U. Right now you need to pay about $50 a year for Xbox Live Gold to be able to use these premium online entertainment services such as Netflix. That right there already gives the Wii U a huge advantage for a media hub over the 360 for example.

    • Rza79
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]We already know the upcoming Wii U console is going to match—not exceed—the graphical fidelity of current-gen consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.[/quote<] We also already know that it's going to render everything in FHD (unlike that Xbox360 and PS3 that render the game in HD and then upscale it to FHD). I would say that having to render more than two times the pixel count means it's much more powerful and that's without counting the screens of the two GamePad's that it supports. [quote<]Still, $300 is a lot for a console that will probably pale in comparison to Microsoft's and Sony's next-gen offerings.[/quote<] Isn't this statement a bit premature? I mean, we know basically nothing about those next-gen consoles. Who says MS or Sony aren't going to have a mild upgrade to keep prices down? I'm pretty sure MS is going to use an APU again which means they'll be limited by process technology and there's rumors that Sony will go down the APU route too.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      HD and FHD are not real things. I assume you mean 720p and 1080p?

      If that’s the case you’re still wrong. Some PS3 games are 1080 natively, and some 360 games are below 720 (like Halo 3).

        • Rza79
        • 7 years ago

        Now you’re just splitting hairs …
        Everybody knows what HD and FHD mean.
        And if you want the full list:
        [url<]http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=46241[/url<]

          • SPOOFE
          • 7 years ago

          No, “HD vs. FHD” were marketing terms to make mere 720p seem less bad in comparison to 1080p.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    The Wii was $250 at launch. This just looks bad versus the much-reduced prices on the now old XBox 360 and PS3.

      • LovermanOwens
      • 7 years ago

      New controller, 1st of the next gen systems, and the weak dollar are great reasons to charge $300 for this.

        • mcnabney
        • 7 years ago

        Those reasons will also encourage people to skip it.

          • BestJinjo
          • 7 years ago

          That makes no sense.

          PS4 / Xbox next won’t be $299, but much more expensive. Compared to next generation consoles from MS/Sony, Wii U launching 12 months earlier for $299-349 is reasonable.

          Wii U packs more modern hardware and unique tablet controller making it a far better console for the next 5-6 years than the 6-7 year old PS3/360.

          360/PS3 still cost $249.99 with 250/160GB hard drives.

          360 + Kinect bundle is $399.99 at BestBuy.

          In light of these, the Wii U is actually affordable. You get a more powerful console. It is already getting Assassin’s Creed 3, Black Ops 2 and Bayonetta 2. So it’s clear 3rd party developers are coming to the Wii U unlike Wii. Not only that but Nintendo allows you to buy any hard drive you want and plug it in via USB. Far better value than MS ripping us off charging $60+ for a POS old 250GB mechanical drive. Plus unlike Xbox360 that makes no sense for PC gamers, Nintendo’s 1st party games are great.

          For us PC gamers especially, the most logical choice is either the Wii U or PS4 (or both). Next Xbox will have mostly shooters and they’ll all be better on the PC 🙂

        • Farting Bob
        • 7 years ago

        Also, this christmas season they will sell however many they make at this price. They can drop it $50 next summer to make it more attractive compared to the xbox 3 and PS4 if demand is less than expected after christmas.

        Still, that controller cant be cheap to make, controllers have usually been a very small part of the production cost of a console but this certainly is not as cheap as a wiimote. Add in inflation compared to when the wiiiii launched and $50 more isnt unreasonable, and it will still likely be the cheapest of the 3 next gen consoles next christmas.

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      Wii was $250 in 2006 USD, but $317 in 2012 USD. Wii U will be slightly cheaper once you account for inflation.

        • jdaven
        • 7 years ago

        I hope your paycheck inflated as well.

          • Farting Bob
          • 7 years ago

          I was unemployed when the Wii came out, so yes my paycheque certainly has. I still dont have $300 to throw on a toy this christmas. That money has been earmarked for alcohol at new years!

    • Game_boy
    • 7 years ago

    The cost is because the tablet controller is $172 retail. The box itself has a TDP of 75W including power brick ineffciency, drive, radios, storage, the CPU and GPU etc. so I imagine they’re both <20W and hence very weak.

    • ChronoReverse
    • 7 years ago

    No, we know it will _exceed_ but perhaps not too much the capabilities of the 360 and PS3.

    Simply by running at 1080p60, it’ll need over 2x the graphics power. We already know it has 4x the RAM.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      yeah, i’m not sure why cyril says it’s not more powerful. it is, and they’ve said it’s more powerful. not tons, but it IS more powerful.

        • BestJinjo
        • 7 years ago

        If it has a modern low-end HD4000-7000 series, it will be more powerful for sure. Since we already know the GPU has 1GB of VRAM, that’s 4x the amount of VRAM of PS3. I am guessing the GPU is at least 2-3x more powerful than the R500/RSX in the current consoles. The system also has more system memory. Obviously it won’t match the hardware of PS4, next Xbox but it’s more powerful overall for graphics than PS3/360.

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      Come on… a 7850 is like 60x as powerful as an xbox360… OF COURSE THIS will be moar powerful.

        • jtenorj
        • 7 years ago

        HD7850 is NOT 60x as powerful as the Xenos gpu in xbox360…

        Xenos(500mhz core clock, 700mhz(1400 DDR) memory clock)
        3×16 vector 4+1 fp32 MADD(240 GFLOPS)
        16 texture units which is plenty for hqaf(8gtexels/sec)
        8 rops with free 4xaa developers never use(4gpixels/sec)
        512MB of 128 bit GDDR3 shared with the Xenon cpu(22.4GB/s)
        1MB L2 cache on Xenon lockable by Xenos
        10MB EDRAM with 32GB/s to Xenos and 256GB/s to the rops on board.

        HD7850(860mhz core clock, 1.2ghz/4.8ghz memory clock)
        16×64(4×16) fp32 FMA(1761.28GFLOPS)
        64 texture units(55.04gtexels/sec)
        32 rops(27.52gpixels/sec)
        2GB of 256 bit GDDR5(153.6GB/s)

        The shaders in Xenos are basically like the fairly long standing VLIW5 in most dx10+ radeons.

        VLIW4 is theoretically 25% more efficient than VLIW5(Actually, “only” about 20% faster).

        Given how HD7850 performs versus the likes of HD6970 and GTX570 in some games, you could
        say GCN is as much as or more than 50% more efficient than VLIW4. I think the boost in efficiency
        from VLIW4 to GCN is due in large part to the regrouping of shaders in large blocks from 16×4 to
        4×16(like how the geforce 8 and 9 series had 16 shaders per block. basically the move from a more
        vectorized architecture to a more scaler architecture). For ease of computation, lets reduce Xenos’
        theoretical glops by 20%(this would also take into account dx10.1/dx11 efficiencies the HD7850 can
        take advantage of and Xenos cannot), and reduce that by 1/3. So, 240GFLOPS drops to 192, and
        2/3 of that is 128GFLOPS. That spec is by far the largest difference between the 2, which is a
        difference of less than 12x(a far cry from 60x. off by more than a factor of 5 actually).

        Edit: Sorry if the formatting is screwed up. This may be my first time
        commenting on a tech report news item.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Read the latest reviews. TR has started quantifying the latest GPUs in terms of the number of Xboxs worth of power they have. I believe the 660Ti was 10, the 680 is 14. It isn’t 50, but it most definitely isn’t 1.5.

          Please don’t use acronyms for things that aren’t common knowledge unless you fully name the acronym first. VLIW4 and GCN don’t ring any bells.

            • jtenorj
            • 7 years ago

            IDK(I don’t know) where you got 1.5 from, but whatever…

            Here is a list of acronyms I used in my post and their definitions:

            gpu:graphics processing unit
            mhz:megahertz or millions(x10^6) of hertz(cycles per second)
            DDR:double data rate
            fp32: 32 bit floating point(single precision versus 64 bit double precision)
            MADD:multiply/add(2 operations at once)
            GFLOPS:billions(x10^9) of floating point operations per second
            hqaf:high quality anisotropic filtering(unblurs angled and distant textures)
            gtexels/sec:billions(x10^9) of texture elements per second
            rop:render output unit(according to wikipedia). The part of a gpu that calculates
            multisample aa(msaa) and super sample aa(ssaa), maybe HDRL. s is plural.
            aa:anti aliasing:removes jagged edges from polygons(msaa) and textures(ssaa).
            HDRL:high dynamic range lighting(better simulates contrasts between the
            brightest and darkest spots in a game and the human eye’s response)
            gpixels/sec:billions(x10^9) of picture elements per second
            MB:one megabyte(one million bytes or 2^20 bytes if we are talking memory capacity)
            GDDR3:graphics DDR version 3 SDRAM(synchronus dynamic random access memory)
            GB/s:gigabytes:billions(or x10^9 when talking speed)of bytes per second
            cpu:central processing unit
            L2: level 2 cache on processor die. between first used level 1 and system memory.
            edram:embedded dynamic random access memory
            ghz:gigahertz or billions(x10^9) of hertz
            FMA:fused multiply/add(slightly more efficient/accurate than the old MADD unit)
            GB:one gigabyte(one billion bytes or 2^30 bytes when talking memory capacity)
            GDDR5:version 5 of the above, able to do 4 transfers per clock versus 2.
            VLIW5:very long instruction word 5
            dx10:direct x 10(an application programming interface(api) from microsoft)
            VLIW4:very long instruction word 4
            GCN:Graphics Core Next, the latest shader architecture from AMD
            AMD:Advanced Micro Devices
            dx10.1:incrimental update to dx10, added instruction efficiency to compliant radeons
            dx11:added instruction efficiency and/or features over dx10/dx10.1
            spec:specification

            Did I miss any? Do any of these require more clarification?(I did use a bunch, huh…)

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      No console will run at 1080p. They run at more like 360p then upscale it. Maybe any xbox360 ports to the WiiU can be run at 480p instead.

        • swaaye
        • 7 years ago

        The consoles prior to the current generation rendered at 480p typically. There are a few Xbox 1 games that are rendered at 1280×720 though (it can output up to 1080i).

        Most current console games are rendered at ~1280×720 and then scaled up/down to the TV’s supported output mode.

          • khands
          • 7 years ago

          A lot of them actually run some really weird resolutions natively and then output a 720p signal that gets scaled by the TV. COD 5 ran at 600p for example.

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