The 3DS sales are sky rocketing. That means everything is good with Nintendo in the US, right? Absolutely not. The Big N has a lot of pandering to do over here in the West. The 3DS launch was horrific and the entire first year was abysmal for the company. Sales were disastrous and internal projections were way, way down. Without a doubt, the lack of a core audience and longevity to the Wii and the horrible first year and launch of the 3DS put Nintendo’s American audience on notice.
This was about the time that the gloom ‘n doom articles started to come out about Nintendo’s future and their decisions based on the beginning and mid reports on the Wii U. Things were looking pretty bleak. Every time we got some really cool info on the upcoming home console, at least 1 to 3 pieces of bad news followed. Take this past E3 for instance. We finally got confirmation that some games on the Wii U would allow a second Gamepad to be used. Awesome! Show ends and the showfloor news begins to trickle out. A second Gamepad halves your frame rate on games. Also, the Gamepad’s battery only lasts 3-5 hours. Finally, support for the second Gamepad will not be featured at launch. This has been the trend for Wii U news since it was announced.
So now we cut forward to today. The big day. Finally we would get the launch details for the Wii U across the world. First up? Japan’s plans. Oh boy was I frightened. When I heard the conversion rates compared to the Yen pricing I also flipped. There is no way that I would pay $350-400 for a Wii U. Sorry but this console is not worth that much money. An argument can be made that no console is worth that much but we’re used to living in that kind of world. Not with Nintendo, though. Nintendo has never launched a console above the $249 price tag (bundles NES and the Wii). That price would be company suicide over here. No amount of brand loyalty or advertisement would save the Wii U from certain 3DS-esque failure.
However, the crisis was averted! The US details came out shortly after showing off better pricing and a closer release date than what Japan is getting. That’s right! A Japanese company is catering to the US audience like never before. Not only are getting the Wii U for (a converted amount of) $50-100 less but we’re also getting it weeks in advance. Japan’s release date is set on December 8th while the west can enjoy it on November 18th. The Basic White console will retail for $299.99 and includes the console, a Gamepad, a sensor bar, an HDMI cable and an AC adapter. The Premium Black console will go for $349.99 and come with everything said for the Basic, a Gamepad charging cradle, stands for the Gamepad and console, and a copy of Nintendoland.
So what made the US so lucky? Well, you could say that the 3DS’ failure over here hurt more than it did anywhere else on the globe. Video games tend to sell in higher amounts over here due to the size of the audience they reach. Besides, the loyalty to Nintendo is Japan is a huge factor. Aside from the 3DS, the Wii hit a road block mid-way in its lifespan which severely hurt its longevity with gamers. Constant promises for a more core focus never came. Petitions and movements were needed to bring over good games from Japan and Europe. Nintendo also pulled an original Xbox move and basically left the system for dead with a dry release schedule. The treatment of the Wii over here in America was downright dreadful and it made people notice.
Now that Nintendo is showing some good tidings to America with the Wii U launch plans, it is clear to see that the Big N is trying to re-capture the US audience. A showing of good faith, if you will.
I’d like to know, were you offput with Nintendo’s treatment of the Wii and the 3DS’ first year? Did it make you doubt Nintendo and/or the Wii U? Has the announced launch plans changed that all?
Let us know below!