Early this morning, Nintendo announced that it would be dropping the price of the Nintendo Wii in North America from $149 to $129. This is, presumably, to cash in on the bargain hunters during the holiday season and make way for the release of the Wii U on November 18th of this year. This was almost immediately followed by Microsoft’s announcement that it would be dropping the price of its Xbox 360 bundles by $50, to $249.
Sony just cannot seem to catch a break. Nintendo has held the total market share in North America for the entire generation, while the 360 has been able to outpace the Playstation 3 console in North America for the last 21 months straight. While the worldwide total puts the 360 and the PS3 neck-and-neck, the PS3 is very far behind in North America. Sony saw an opportunity to release a new, slimmer SKU of the PS3 last month, bundled with the critically acclaimed Uncharted 3 for $269. Armed with a slew of first party exclusives due out this fall, Sony seemed set to take the Wii U head on, priced just under the cheaper of the two Wii U SKU’s. But these price drops may prove to be detrimental.
Sony’s strategy has been to release a constant stream of high-quality first and third party exclusives, and let the games themselves sell the system. Littlebigplanet, Ratchet, Sly, and PS All-Stars lead the way this fall, with God of War, The Last of Us, and Beyond: Two Souls headed for the Spring. Nintendo and Microsoft, on the other hand, have done the opposite- fans of the former had to beg to get the only two major Wii releases of the year localized, and Microsoft showed just about everything except for games at their E3 press conference, relying instead on 3rd party multiplatform games to draw people in. But those two consoles continue to surge ahead with little new content. Whatever the reason is, they surely will continue to do so with lower prices.
Sony really needed to bring their price down to compete, and they did not- if you compare SKU’s, the new one is not even the lowest-priced system that they have had. It is tragic really, because Sony’s lineup of exclusives this fall can go toe to toe even with Nintendo’s brand new console. For whatever reason, people do not seem to be interested in choosing the console that is continuing to deliver game after game so far out from launch. Is it bad marketing? Poor advertising? Bad luck? It does not help that it costs more. In my opinion, the Playstation 3 is absolutely the best console choice out there right now (pending your taste in games) in terms of value, especially when coupled with the Playstation Plus service. It is a shame that other people do not see it that way.
The new $129 Wii SKU will be available by October 28th, comes in black, and is bundled with Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort on one disc in place of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The Wii U will release in two SKUs priced at $299 and $349 on November 18th. The two 360 SKUs will be out this holiday, the first being 250GB with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Forza Motorsport 4, the second being 4GB with Microsoft Kinect, Kinect Adventures and Disney Adventures. The new PS3 SKU is available now, and includes Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and Dust 514.
Are you in the market for a new console? Which one are you considering this fall?