The Wii price cut

It is looking more and more like Nintendo may have no option to make the Wii cheaper at retail, despite what Satoru Iwata says. Here’s why:

  • It has been at the same price for a long time now, during which it has become a lot cheaper to make. Especially with the volumes they are churning out. And they were making a profit in every unit from the beginning. So there is plenty of room to drop the price.
  • They are ramping up production to 25 million units a year. Initially these will just meet the backlog of demand but once that is done they will need to use the price mechanism to shift them.
  • Their release schedule is looking very weak. Right now we have Super Smash Bros, Brawl, Mario Kart and Wii Fit. Then nothing mega and lots of shovelware. Compare that with the PS3 and 360.
  • GTA IV. This is going to transform the balance in the market strongly in favour of the HD consoles. The Wii is going to look increasingly last gen.
  • To make the most money out of the Wii back catalogue of games Nintendo need as many platforms out there as possible. At a lower price they will sell more Wiis and milk it on the software.
  • The Microsoft Xbox 360 price cuts now make the Wii look very expensive. You get a whole lot more for your money with the 360.

So when is this going to happen. Q3 08 is my best bet. But it could be a little later. It depends on what the market is telling them.


  1. My guess is not until after Christmas. They still don’t quite satisfy demand internationally (although it’s mostly on the US that has significant scarcity now), and the Christmas boom will be enough to keep them selling at current price. After Christmas could be a good time for a price drop.

    Although I wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with a bundle. A Wii + Wii Fit at a slight discount would be pretty popular.

  2. I think many commentators are underestimating how big the shift in the balance of power will be with GTA IV.

    Also I am hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence of Wiis bought by casual gamers gathering dust.

  3. I agree with LewieP that it doesn’t make sense for them to drop the price until not only when supply matches demand (which it doesn’t appear to currently) but really until demand dips way down, if it even will.

    I don’t believe (and this is just my opinion here) that GTA IV (or any PS3 & Xbox 360 game) has much relevance to Wii sales.

    It’s my belief that Nintendo aren’t playing the same game as Microsoft or Sony, so there is no shared market to fight over.

    The Wii is not in direct competition with the Xbox 360 or PS3, and it’s perfectly valid (and dare I say common) for people to buy both a Wii AND an Xbox or PS3.

    Therefore the price of the Wii compared to the Xbox or PS3 is irrelevant to the buyer that wants a Wii and only a Wii, because they either already have one of the others, or just plain don’t want one of the others (like much of Nintendo’s “new” market).

  4. I agree with the other two comments.

    The Wii audience or should I say the people that are buying all of these Wii consoles really aren’t interested in GTA IV. Especially with some of the bad GTA IV press going on in which you yourself brought to my attention. Wii Fit on the other hand…

    I don’t forsee Wii demand slipping yet and still even when it does slip it will still be steady. I agree with Lewie that early next year may be the time.

    Without a doubt there is a barrage of shovelware on the way but within that is a more than sufficient list of titles. I posted a comment on a blog highlighting at least 10+ games from the Q2 line up some time ago…can’t currently find the page though.

    Also, on Wii owners and software take up, this article should dispell some of those myths.

    Nintendo is also promising some important titles for the rest of the year at this year’s E3. Whether or not these games will cause some sort of sudden increased demand is unknown but it is still worth noting.

  5. Why would “Wiis gathering dust” be a reason for Nintendo to cut the price of the console? After all, the consoles themselves are still flying off the shelves. If they wanted to boost software sales, Nintendo could cut software prices, release better games etc. Cutting the price of the console wouldn’t make much difference.

    Of course, since in reality Wii software sales are extremely strong (see ChartTrack), this is all academic.

  6. “I don’t believe (and this is just my opinion here) that GTA IV (or any PS3 & Xbox 360 game) has much relevance to Wii sales.”

    It’s anecdotal of course but before GTA4 I physically knew 3 people with 360s.

    Another 2, including my own brother are buying one for GTA4.

  7. Considering the $250 price is still cheaper than the 360 and PS3 not to mention the demand for it is sooo high, why lower? Thats just stupid marketing. I can understand if 360 and PS3 were in the same price range but they’re not. The Wii is still hard to find in stores. Its called supply and demand. Just like the news of the DS being in high demand that there is no need to drop price. “veteran games industry marketer” my ass. Thats one way to kill off a system. The gaming companies are suppose to make profit not dig themselves a grave.

    The Wii was making profit the day it was released.

  8. “GTA IV. This is going to transform the balance in the market strongly in favour of the HD consoles. The Wii is going to look increasingly last gen.”

    Meh. It’s not like gamers didn’t notice HD looks better before GTAIV, and most other people don’t care. Lowering the price doesn’t make the Wii any more powerful.

    I don’t see any reason why the Wii should drop in price besides competition with the 360 at only $50 more, but that has been going on for months and the Wii is still selling out strong. I agree with the weak line-up though. Besides MK and Okami, I can’t see a game I would buy. Nintendo’ll probably be able to ride the casual sales until some big titles are released.

  9. They can’t even satisfy demand, so why would they drop the price. Most people who were going to get GTA IV already bought a PS3 or 360 a long time ago. The wii price point is staying the same for some time. End of story. Next discussion.

  10. I agree it’s all academic, so my words with a pinch of salt.

    Wii software sales are strong but are they? Wii Sports is basically given away with every new console and is top of the chart of course. Mario Kart and Wii Fit have made a few people dust their Wiis recently and there are one or two quality games like Mario Galaxy that appeal to the core market. Almost all (if not all) top sellers are Nintendo titles…

    360 is now comparable to Wii in price and is a better machine by a mile!

    I agree there will be a Wii price cut soon…

  11. They don’t need to lower the price. They are still selling more units than they can keep in stores, people are still buying them and it’s not just another console so don’t compare it so easaly with the 360. If you say they should drop because HD console are going to look better, don’t forget less than 35% of people have an HD TV, and most of these people just have HD because there flat screen is HD and these people are’nt really using the HD part. The other console should drop in price more than the Wii, simple reason they need to reach more people, Wii is good for people from 4 yo to 94 yo, the oteher system are mostly for pre-teens to young adult and offer the same type of gameply with diffence of graphics, Wii at least is a different genre.

  12. @Olivier Taschereau

    Are you serious!!! “The Wii is good for people 4 to 94 Years old!!!” That statement made my day!!! Have you ever looked at Nintendo’s game lineup??? Can you say Mario, Zelda, Pokemon. Those games CATER to kids hence the system caters to kids. Don’t let a gimicky controller scheme and a FITNESS title sway your gullable mind into thinking otherwise. 360’s and PS3’s cater to the older crowd the Wii and it’s cute little Mii’s cater to children.

  13. I’ve read this article and still can’t make sense of it. Reasons a Wii price cut is coming:

    1. It has been at the same price for a long time now

    Are you kidding me? It could be the same price for 20 years as long as it’s still selling out. Time at retail has nothing to do with supply and demand.

    2. Their release schedule is looking very weak.

    This is subjective and IMHO, false. At least with regard to Nintendo’s audience, which you clearly are not. Some people still don’t get the Wii. Thats why it’s sales are a mystery to them.

    3. GTA IV.

    This makes no sense. GTAIV is completely irrelevant in the circles NIntendo is making waves in. Most Wii owners have never heard of it as anything other than a “how to shoot hookers” game.

    4. To make the most money out of the Wii back catalogue of games Nintendo need as many platforms out there as possible.

    This has been true since the beginning, what changed about this that would force a price cut. This reason makes no sense what so ever.

    5. The Microsoft Xbox 360 price cuts now make the Wii look very expensive.

    No. They don’t. They make MS look desparate, because even after cutting the price, their sales are barely outpacing last year.

    “You get a whole lot more for your money with the 360.”

    What good is a harddrive and online gaming if there are no games you want to play? Value is in the eyes of the consumer and I”m guessing the value proposition that is driving people to the Wii is significantly different than the one driving people to the 360.

    I’m constantly amazed that the Wii could be out this long, and be this successful yet people can still misunderstand it so fully. So, kudos for that.

  14. They may lower it eventually, but I doubt it will happen before christmas. I think that by the time off season demand is met, that demand will start to pick up again for the holidays. I doubt we’ll see more than a month or two of solid availability before the Holidays hit.

  15. Since the Lamecube I have not and will not give them another dollar. They totally raised a generation of gamers and abandoned them. If a wii cost $5 I would not buy one. The majority of gamers are in the 25-35 age range, there are no games geared towards adults. When I first heard about wii controls, I was like now shooter are
    gonna rule. But all all there is shovelware and crappy games. New IPs please! Mario and Zelda don’t cut it anymore. There isn’t anything like GTA on a pretendo platform at all.

  16. @ RoC

    Are you serious? Why do u think they have brain age, and Wii Fit? They want older people to exercise on the wii..

  17. @ Mr Hankey

    “There isn’t anything like GTA on a pretendo platform at all.”

    Apart from GTA-alikes ‘Scarface’ and ‘The Godfather’ of course.

  18. Speaking from point of sales i mean yes the system sells well but I don’t really feel its because of the fact that it has great titles but because everyone feels that its rare and wants it for ebay. While others that do obtain including myself get bored with it after a while. I mean if you aren’t playing with friends constantly you eventually reach a point were you are unable to basically touch the thing single player games are next to non and the net play for muliplayer is crap

  19. Incidentally, to put the final nail in Hankey’s coffin, I was reminded that the Gameboy Color also got a conversion of GTAs 1 and 2 and there’s the small matter of the Wii getting Manhunt 2…

  20. The idea that GTA 4 is a system seller is absurd. Will it sell systems to the common dullard and beer-guzzling frat boys? Sure.

    Why do you see so many copies of the previous incarnations of GTA in the “used” section at GameStop? Because it’s a repetitive, boring game.

    The merits of each console can be argued until the cows come home. Tactile controls and an immersive environment that promises innovation for years to come is appealing to me, but that’s just me.

    One thing that can’t be argued, however, is market force. Even nearing December demand is still high (Even before Black Friday I have yet to find a Target with more than two Wiis remaining on its shelves on any given day).

    It would be absolutely stupid for Nintendo to drop its price on the Wii. It would be like throwing away free money. Call me a capitalist.

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