It’s been out for three years and will be replaced by NX in a year’s time, but shockingly, Nintendo’s struggling Wii U console is still far too expensive.
Released in late-2012, many thought Wii U could ride the wave of success established by Wii, one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time. Ironically, it was in Nintendo’s attempt to maintain the relationship with its Wii consumer base that ultimately hurt its successor, with the Japanese gaming giant admitting it struggled to create an element of differentiation between the two consoles.
Weak third-party support and large gaps between major first-party releases, and it’s no surprise that the Wii U has struggled on the way to only 13 million global sales. The PlayStation 4 trumped that figure in North America alone.
It probably doesn’t help, then, that it hasn’t received a price-cut in a number of regions, namely Australia.
While retailers have held a number of sales in an attempt to shift Wii U stock, with the console often selling for less than $200, most major retailers still sell bundles — the only version of the console available at retail — for more than $400.
A quick scan reveals just how absurd the pricing still is. At EB Games, the cheapest bundle you can buy is the Mario Kart 8-Skylanders bundle for $429. For $30 less you can get a 500GB Xbox One with three games for $399. You could also pick up a 500GB PlayStation 4 with Skylanders for $458.
Dungeon Crawl, Big W and JB HiFi are three other online retailers — far more respectable and affordable in their pricing than EB Games — who are still selling bundles for more than $400. A pre-owned Premium Console costs $308 at EB. For $100 more you could get a brand new 500GB Xbox One with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition. Irrespective of your gaming interests, the pricing is way off, and the fact that a newer console with a much larger games library is only $30 dearer with Skylanders than the equivalent Wii U bundle highlights just how absurd the pricing is.
Would a price cut at this stage make much difference? Unlikely. Anyone that wants a Wii U probably already has one, but it’s fascinating that, much like the Gamecube, the Wii U in Australia has been left idling in neutral.