Nintendo didn't take time to announce two major facts during their E3 presentation for the upcoming Wii U; specifically, the console never received a launch date or price point. Those details will supposedly come later this summer.
In speaking with Gamasutra, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata explained that both the pricing and the market for the Wii U are incredibly important for the console's launch. This quote came after Iwata explained that he and Nintendo aren't too concerned with the fact that they're coming to the next-gen hardware market first.
"The pricing of Wii U is going to be one of the most important elements when it is going to be launched…The environment is different. Wii U is going to be launching in a different environment than when the Wii was launched. Also, the involvement surrounding [mobile and social] businesses is different than several years ago."
We couldn't agree more with Iwata's sentiment. Next to software support and marketing, the thing that will make or break the success of the Wii U's launch is its initial price point. Nintendo learned a hard lesson when they launched the Nintendo 3DS at $250. The launch was a bit of a dud. Since the price cut, sales have been exponentially better.
When it comes to competing with consoles in terms of power, Iwata had this nugget to offer:
"Even when we were going to launch the Wii system, there were a lot of voices saying 'Nintendo should stop making hardware'…The reasoning behind that was Nintendo would not have any chance against Microsoft and Sony. The fact of the matter was: I did not think Nintendo should compete against these companies with the same message and same entertainment options for people.
We have not changed our strategy. In other words, we just do not care what kind of 'more beef' console Microsoft and Sony might produce in 2013. Our focus is on how we can make our new console different than [others]."
Sure, consumers will absolutely consider the nature of the hardware, power, software and constrol scheme presented by Nintendo; however, an attractive price point could be the difference maker for this upcoming console.
If Nintendo bundles the system with Nintendo Land and lists it at $200-250, I think they'll be fine. Where do you think the company will price the machine?