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Wii U Mad Tho?

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Nerd Rage - Update
Wii U Mad Tho?

September 21st, 2012

It's not often I get hit with writer's block on Nerd Rage. Normally if an idea isn't working for me after a couple quick attempts, I scrap it or set it aside and pull out one of my cataloged ideas I've already worked out. (Uunlike some comics, Nerd Rage isn't drawn far in advance, so I can keep it topical from time to time.)

With Nintendo's Wii U announcements, I felt like I would be doing a diservice to Nerd Rage if I didn't address the subject. But what is there to say?

Basic Set Deluxe Set
- Available in white
- $299.99
- Wii U console
- One Gamepad
- Sensor bar
- 8GB flash memory
- HDMI cable
- Available in black
- $349.99
- Wii U Console
- One Gamepad
Sensor bar
- 32 GB flash memory
- HDMI cable
- Charging stand
- Console stand
- Nintendo Land

These SKUs make no sense to me. To start, this harkens back to when Sony launched the PS3 with two models, one of which didn't sell because the price cut wasn't worth the feature cut. Bill Trinen, Nintendo's director of marketing, hopes the basic console will apeal to core gamers. Wait, what? Are core gamers not the ones who care about rebuying their console so it's in a color they want (ie: black)? Are core gamers not interested in stands or charging their devices? Do core gamers not look for the model that offers the most gigz and pick that one? It's like Nintendo picked a bunch of features of a hat while differentiating the bundles.

On top of this, the 'deluxe' bundle comes with Nintendo Land, one of the only two Nintendo-published games available at launch. Nintendo is upping their game prices to $60, so the price difference between the two bundles is literally the cost of Nintendo Land. If you plan on buying Nintendo Land (for some reason), you have absolutely no reason to buy the standard set.

Maybe I'm crazy, but would it not have made more sense to sell a Families & Grandma bundle and Gamer Bundle? The Families & Grandma bundle would be a lower price point, include Nintendo Land (this generation's Wii sports), have less memory space (because we all know Grandma isn't downloading new titles), and have less newfangled accessories and extras. It's streamlined, it's easy to use, it's ready to entertain her out of the box....and at a cheap price.

The Gamer Bundle would have more storage space, the bells and whistles, the fancy black plastic. If you're feeling really giving, include a 'core' game. If you're feeling not so daring, there's a Mario game at launch! Stick that in there. Playing it safe? Just stuff a Nintendo Land in there, Nintendo. You obviously want us to play your tech-demo buffet, and I don't see a lot of 'core gamers' wanting to spend $60 on it. The bundle itself could be mroe expensive because core gamers are willing to spend money on gaming.

The argument can be made, of course, that the onboard memory is pointless; Nintendo is actually letting us connect external memory, so the cost of an upgrade is the cost of an external harddrive. A hundred bucks could get you a terabyte of space. That's better than Microsoft is offering. A lot better.

Despite all this to say about the Wii U, I didn't feel like there was a joke to make that hasn't been said. Nintendo is cramming Nintendo Land down the throat of the public. The standard bundle is underwhelming, the deluxe should be the 'standard' set.

I won't be buying one at launch. I jumped on the 3DS under the promise that games would come and the expectation that prices would hold steady. The offering of NES games I already own a couple times over did not mend the feeling that Nintendo has screwed over me, the loyal consumer. I can hardly be mad about the Wii U, though. I'm not calling for a boycott. Because I know I'll eventually own one. And most of those people complaining angrily on the internet, clogging forums with angry hate for Nintendo?

They'll end up with one too.

Nintendo's biggest draw is never the hardware itself, but the first-party properties. When the games come, so will the purchases.

Nerd Rage is copyright © 2010-2015 Andy Kluthe. All rights reserved.
All images, graphics, artwork © 2010-2015 Andy Kluthe unless otherwise
noted and may not be used without permission.