Nintendo has finally announced the release date of its next generation console, the Wii U, as well as its price. Several analysts, speaking with Games Industry international, give their opinion on Nintendo's new console. Overall reaction was positive and the pricing system appears to be in line with what was expected. However there are still questions about the consoles future beyond its launch period.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who has been skeptical about the Wii U since it was first announced, seemed rather positive for the launch period. "I think that the price points make sense, particularly since I think that the console will be sold out through March...I thought the launch lineup was very strong, and third party support was pretty impressive."
Pachter feels the Wii U will be sold out until about March, in which the console will have sold seven million units. However he feels unlike with the Wii which was at its launch price point for three and a half years, that the Wii U will get a price cut before holiday 2013, due to heavier competition, mainly from the tablet market.
DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole believes that the price is a little high, and he originally thought that the Deluxe set would cost be the only one and be priced at $299, not $349. He agrees with Pachter that the price will drop next year. "I would have liked to see $300 with a bundle; however, I think there is room to capitalize on early adopter interest and drop the price next year," Cole said.
Cole does feel that the launch period will see strong sales. "In terms of launch, Nintendo has a pretty strong fan base to snap up initial inventory and the real issue is not this holiday season but 2013 and beyond...The real issue is whether Nintendo will be able to attract some of the more casual Wii purchasers who may have moved on to tablets and other devices. However, those consumers are not the ones being targeted this year. This year it is more about core gamers and there could easily be shortages."
Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia was not shocked by the Wii U pricing, but was surprised by how strong the launch lineup is. "The title lineup does look stronger than we had expected. Overall, we believe investor expectations are fairly low and as such there could be upside. We expect Wii U to sell 1 million units in North America this holiday season, which is flat versus the Wii launch in 2006."
EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich like the others was not surprised with the price and is not impressed with the launch lineup. He doesn't believes that core gamers will pick up the Wii U. "I know developers are hard at work to ensure their multi-platform games have unique features exclusive to the Wii U, but I expect this is unlikely to persuade core gamers to purchase a Wii U just for a few minor exclusive features."
Divnich does believes that "Nintendo will push the boundaries of interactive entertainment on the Wii U. "Nintendo has always been a guiding light of creativity to the rest of the industry." However he feels that third party support is key to the future success of the Wii U. "Overall, I feel the Wii U is a step in the right direction for Nintendo, but the company is under far more pressure to succeed than ever before."
RW Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, like the other analysts thinks the Wii U will have a strong launch this holiday, however he is not sure if the console will be a hit yet. "One of my lingering concerns is that it is not obvious to me what the 'killer app' will be, which would help drive momentum into next year."
TechSavvy Global analyst Scott Steinberg thinks that the Wii U price is a good value, though Nintendo could have been more aggressive. "I don't think it's going to be quite as much of a breakout success as the Wii, only because it's become a much tougher retail market. There's a lot more competition from smartphones, tablets and other devices."
Overall opinions seems to be similar. The Wii U will sell well during its launch period, but many questions remain beyond that point. All the analysts were in agreement that while the TVii is a nice feature, it is not a system seller.