By Jonathan Charles | Jun 28, 2012 11:16 AM EDT
A recent interview with Nintendo (Worldwide) president Satoru Iwata revealed that Wii U games won't retail for close to $100, and the company won't overprice like it did with the Nintendo 3DS. So looking at the console's pricing, judging on past releases, there's a pattern to Nintendo's pricing.
The Wii U is probably going to be on-par, graphically, with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It's not certain how much farther the Wii U will be compared to those levels, but the Xbox 360 was priced at $399 at launch while the PlayStation 3 launched at $499 and $599 for 20GB and 60GB models respectively.
iSuppli estimated Sony was making a loss of around $300 during launch despite the much-maligned high pricing, which later dropped to $400 so Sony was losing about $200 per unit. Both consoles received revisions: the Slim PS3 model retails for $249.99 on Amazon while the Xbox 360 S sells for $349.99 with Kinect.
It was suggested Nintendo didn't reveal a price during its E3 conference because it wanted to gauge the reaction of the press and public. With the conference considered disappointing, Nintendo could have priced themselves out of the market before launch.
Looking at Nintendo's past pricing models at launch, the Wii retailed for $249 while the GameCube, Nintendo 64 and Super Nintendo Entertainment System all retailed at launch for $199. Chances are Nintendo won't launch at $199 because it would be making a loss - the GamePad was rumored to be costing the company around $50 - especially if a game is bundled. The Wii was $150 less than the Xbox 360's launch price, so maintaining a similar price point certainly isn't impossible.
The Nintendo 3DS retailed for $249, though that was quickly slashed to $169. Nintendo has since announced the 3DS XL, though that retails for $199. Nintendo never offered a HD model of the Wii, despite it being requested because the hardware was outdated compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The Wii U is releasing before the end of 2012, but no official release date has been announced. Early bets are putting the console around November, the traditional window for console launches.
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