Noah J Nelson on Thursday, Sep. 13th
Nintendo announced the launch date and price points for the successor to its wildly successful Wii console in the United States today.
Dubbed the WiiU the new console, which some consumers have misconstrued as a peripheral for the current system, will hit stores in time for Black Friday arriving on November 18th. The box will come in two packages, each with its own signature color. The basic set will retail for $299.00, come with both the console and the distinctive WiiU gamepad and… actually that’s about it.
Gamers who want a pack-in game and extras like an HDMI cable will have to shell out an additional fifty dollars for the $349.00 black “deluxe” box which will ship with the NintendoLand minigame collection.
So what’s really going on? See us after the jump…
The price point led to a lot of grumbling on the social networks this morning, as the gameratti feel that $300 is too much to pay for a Nintendo console that will (likely) soon be technologically eclipsed by offerings from Microsoft and Sony. Those complaints were met with some derision by others in the peanut gallery who pointed out that no one makes the same stink over a $199 iPhone that is realistically only an incremental improvement over last years model.
That kind of thinking is the old apples vs. oranges complaint.Game consoles and smartphones take up entirely different positions in our technology laden lives.
Far more interesting than any price controversy is Nintendo’s emphasis on an initiative they’re calling Nintendo TVii. This is their incessantly branded stab at stealing the digital hub crown away from Microsoft’s XBox 360, by turning the WiiU’s tablet like gamepad into a controller for Live TV, TiVo DVRs, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and HuluPlus. One interface that collapses all possible methods of watching, say Modern Family, into a single touchscreen interface.
The games juggernaut also showed off two-screen experiences for live sports. According to the company’s sizzle reel shown as part of the announcement, the gamepad will let users access wikipedia entries related to the current game, take part in live polls, and participate in social media feedback on the current game.
Give Nintendo’s psychological positioning as the family-friendly game maker, and the fact that this is currently the only game console that has a two-screen experience built in from the ground up, these features could do a lot to mainstream this type of viewing. Plenty of people already use their tablets while watching TV, and there are more attempts to create dedicated two-screen experiences– anyone who watches Breaking Bad knows this.
What happens, however, when your remote control is that second screen?
Nintendo appears to be counting on a revolution. One that puts what will soon be viewed as an underpowered console by hardcore gamers at the center of the living room.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last console cycle it’s this: don’t count Nintendo out. Ever.