Since May of this year, Nintendo has no longer been selling its Wii U hardware at a loss. This has led to speculation that the company will issue an official price drop for the console to capitalize on both the holiday season and the release of their biggest game for the remainder of the year, Super Smash Bros. While a retail price reduction is certainly not impossible, it seems far more likely that Nintendo will instead opt to provide more value at the console’s current price point.
The Wii U is still priced competitively relative to both Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles, which seem certain to remain at the base price of $399 throughout the year. Many are expecting an official Super Smash Bros. U/Wii U bundle upon the game’s release, similar to the company’s Mario Kart 8 bundle earlier this year, which actually increased the Wii U’s price by $30 by including added peripherals in addition to the game. This formula would work perfectly with a Super Smash Bros. U bundle – particularly when you factor in Nintendo’s upcoming amiibo line, which is set to work with the game. However, Nintendo might be better served in keeping the Wii U at $299 for such a bundle, with only the game included to keep the base price a full $100 less than the competition, which will be an appealing prospect for many consumers.
So when should gamers expect a Wii U price drop? Probably during the first half of next year, when Nintendo’s upcoming creation game Mario Maker is set to release, would be the perfect time for the company to make their move with an official price drop; effectively reducing the Wii U’s retail price by $50 with Mario Maker included. That way, the Wii U would be available at an all-important mass-market price of $249 while being bundled with a game that could have potential for broad appeal – and Nintendo will most likely be able to offer said bundle without incurring any financial loss at that point.
There are sure to be Black Friday deals and possible door-busters from retailers this holiday for people seeking discounts on Wii U hardware, but with three straight years of annual losses, Nintendo’s return to profitability is paramount for the company, and so the chances of an official retail price drop for Wii U happening in 2014 seem low.