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Why You Might Want to Wait to Buy the Nintendo Wii U

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By , dealnews contributor

If any tech news is stealing thunder from Apple's unveiling of the iPhone 5, it's the announcement of the long-long-long-awaited Wii U. The newest console in the Nintendo family is finally on its way, slated to hit stores in time for the holiday shopping season.

Nintendo confirmed Thursday that Wii U game consoles will be available on November 18 in North America, ahead of Japan's December launch. The console will come in two versions: a basic model with 8GB of internal memory for $299.99, and a deluxe 32GB model for $349.99. Both are currently available for preorder, but, even if the nifty new features make your gaming heart skip a beat, you might want to pass on the purchase for the time being.

Wii U as Revolutionary?

But first, what does the new console have to offer? Media-consuming mavens will surely be pleased to see that both versions of the console will stream Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube, and can interact with TiVo DVR to play recorded shows and movies. But perhaps the most revolutionary feature of the Wii U is the GamePad, a hand-held controller with its own touchscreen that can be used as a standalone system or be integrated with your TV. The GamePad, in conjunction with the Wii U console and your TV, offers easy access to menus in addition to different perspectives on gameplay. And, acting as a console in and of itself, allows handheld gameplay while your TV is in use.

Yet it's far from certain whether the Wii U will reverse Nintendo's sagging fortunes despite all the hype surrounding this long-awaited model. For starters, by bearing the "Wii" name, the Wii U may put off hardcore gamers who associate the Nintendo franchise with less serious, family-friendly diversions. However, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime went out of his way to squash the gamer-lite image: "I can assure you that [the Wii U's] launch library, beginning on day one, will be the strongest for any Nintendo home platform in our history."

In an effort to cater to all types of Wii U players, Nintendo is expected to release 50 game titles from launch through the end of March 2013. Gamers should expect to see fan favorites, including a new version of Nintendo's classic Super Mario Brothers, along with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Mass Effect III, Assassin's Creed III and 007 Legends. Two Platinum Games titles, "The Wonderful 101" and "Bayonetta 2," will be Wii U exclusives.

Reasons to Wait to Buy the Wii U

The game roster may sound enticing, but keep in mind that most Wii U games will cost $59.99, up $10 from the base cost of most original Wii titles. (For comparison, the average retail price of an Xbox 360 or PS3 game is already $59.99.) Also, typically during the holiday season, the hottest toys see their best prices during the two weeks before Christmas. Video games in particular see notable discounts around this time, as well as immediately after the holiday. While your title of choice might not drop in price, there's a good chance that select games will see cuts around this time.

Moreover, while the Wii U console itself is already selling out preorders for various retailers, that doesn't mean it's necessarily exempt from promotions around the holidays. Case in point: the most popular electronics release of the year, the iPhone 5, is moving orders like crazy, but Walmart still decided to offer a discount on the iDevice. Many retailers look for ways to promote their Black Friday and holiday sales, and as a result we have seen unbelievable offers in the past. (Remember that 42" TV Best Buy offered last year for an astonishing price of $200? And how people began lining up for it a week in advance?) While nothing is certain, stores could possibly make like Walmart and offer either a special bundle during the holidays that adds value to your $300+ purchase, or even knocks a few dollars off.

Is the Wii U Too Late?

We've already noted that apps have consumed more of the "casual gamer market" over the last few years, to the point where these consumers can easily purchase plenty of addictive diversions via their smartphone for mere pennies. (Angry Birds, anyone?). Additionally, we found that consumer interest in the Wii U was mild in the months leading up to this release. From a survey we conducted several months ago, we discovered that 75% of current gamers said they were not going to purchase the Wii U. Moreover, among those who already own the original Wii, 64% said they were not likely to purchase the new console.

Of course, holiday hype and the desire for the perfect gift could change all that faster than you can say "Black Friday." Or can it? Once again, we're reaching out to dealnews readers to ask: Do you plan on purchasing a Nintendo Wii U? Tell us what you think about the Wii U: its style, game catalog, and of course, its price point. Sound off in the comments below.

Photo credits: Mr. Saint Laurent, Kotaku, and TechnoBuffalo


Related dealnews Features:
Lou Carlozo is a dealnews contributing writer. He covers personal finance for Reuters Wealth. Prior to that he was the managing editor of WalletPop.com, and is a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune.

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Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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6 comments
Allahweh
The article you link to brings up some decent points regarding the Wii U.  However, it is worth mentioning here that generally the people that support Nintendo products are largely in it for the first-party titles like Zelda, Metroid, Mario, and such.  I know that I myself will not pick up a new Nintendo console at launch unless it comes with an awesome launch title.  This is especially important when you consider that the architecture of the Wii U is only marginally better than the generation of the XBox 360 and the PS3, so within a year or so, when the next Microsoft and Sony consoles come out, the Wii U may feel somewhat dated and it's possible that it won't be able to play the current-gen third-party titles.  This is just like the fact that the Wii featured ports of games from the PS2, or down-played titles.
Regardless, if they come up with an awesome Zelda or Metroid title, or some good WiiWare titles, the system will do well.  We just have to see! :)
david-father-of-two
Absolutely order . I ordered two, 1 for my children and 1 for my pocket. EBay's gonna have a lot on there . Easy money.
HowardC
The utter Rage I experienced after reading this was enough for me to sign up just to clarify that this is the WORST advice I've ever seen. 

Consoles are released around thanksgiving so they can be given as Christmas (or pick your winter holiday) presents.  The purpose of a pre-order is NOT to save money but to guarantee that you'll recieve said console before the holidays. The Wii's launch was an utter nightmare.  Only those the pre-ordered or waited in line at 3 in the morning at some random strip mall managed to get a wii before the holidays.  You are honestly suggesting that it's worth the risk of not getting a Wii U for your children/loved one to save a buck or two?

Let me spell this out to all the parents and girlfriends out there.  If you have someone in your life that wants a Wii U for Christmas save yourself some hassle and pre-order.  Deal news can't guarantee you that you'll get a Wii U in time, but pre-ordering will. 

Your surveys are also completely invalid.  First off they are from this site alone.... not nearly a large enough sample especially considering this site is not taylored towards gamers.  Secondly they are from too long ago.  The price-point, launch title list and release date were not announced until earlier this week.  Next to nothing was known about the Wii U prior to the press conference last thursday.  Since the press conference reactions towards the new console has been overwhealmingly positive. 

Also you don't wait to get a console if you are a gamer.  The guy before me commented that he didn't care for the Wii, but that's because he bought it 5 years after it's release.  That makes it ANCIENT by gaming standards and thus the games will look accordingly dated. 

Finally a lot of this article hints that they feel the Wii U might be a dud of a console.  Rest assured this is not the case.  Nintendo has been releasing electronic game devices since the 70's.  The company itself is over 100 years old.  The company won't fail even if the Wii U has less than stellar sales and Nintendo has only made one "failure" in it's entire video game history... namely the virtual boy. 

I get the feeling that whoever wrote this article is looking at the Wii U as a product rather than a gaming device.  This is a huge mistake.  There is no industry that compares to the gaming industry... things just work differently.  One of the rules of game consoles is if Nintendo releases a console and you want to continue playing games like Metroid or Super Mario Bros, you buy it... because they won't be released on anything else. This is the reason the Wii U cannot be a total failure, because these franchises always sell well, they will be released on Nintendo's latest home console, and those always keep the primary home console afloat. 

Seriously... comparing angry birds, a super casual, throw-away game that costs two bucks to  multi-million dollar budgeted AAA titles?  That just shows you don't know what you are talking about.
gmfco311
I waited 4or 5 years after the Wii launched as I really wasn't all that impressed with the Wii to begin with. Wii Sports Resort was the main attraction for me, and of course Mario, Donkey Kong, and such. I think I only played the Wii a total of 5 times, and sadly it collects dust. 

As far as Wii U goes, I will prob do the same with that console as well. Wait 5 years after launch to purchase it. I'd rather buy a new Playstation or XBox console when they get released in the next year or 2. 
weiliwang
While it's true that if you wait a year or so you will see decrease in price, but is it worth it? Assuming you really want the latest console, be it Wii U or otherwise, would waiting a whole year worth the potential $50-100 that you may save? Of course, the answer to that question will vary depending on the individual. I just don't agree that people who buy the newest console right when it's released don't think about "value". For them, the whole year they get to play their newest console may very well worth whatever savings they may get if they waited.
SeecretSqur1s
For any console, if you pre-order, you really are not thinking about "value". Wait a year, and it will drop in price.. just like every console has for a a while now. Though, I forgot about the "value added" that retailers have... it's the same price, but you get games/accessories thrown in... not sure how I forgot about that, but thanks for the reminder.
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