Despite waning demand, Nintendo rules out Wii U price cut

Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata argues that the console is already being offered at a "good price."

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

The Wii U's troubles attracting gamers won't be solved by a price cut, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata argues.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo yesterday, Iwata acknowledged that Wii U sales disappointed last year, but he didn't necessarily feel that dropping the price of the $299 basic set or the $349 deluxe set would do the company much good.

"We are already offering it at a good price," Iwata said, according to the Associated Press.

Nintendo yesterday announced its earnings for the nine-month period that ended December 31. Although it was able to turn a slight profit, the company's revenue was down 2.4 percent from a year earlier. The Wii U, which was expected to significantly boost Nintendo revenue during the period, was only able to muster 3 million unit sales. The earnings release didn't directly discuss Wii U demand, but Nintendo indicated that the release of classic games for the console, like Mario Kart and Legend of Zelda, should "help Nintendo regain momentum for Wii U."

In his discussion with reporters, Iwata said that the Wii U needs more and better games to drive console sales, and so far, that issue "has not been solved."

"I feel a deep sense of responsibility for not being able to produce results for our year-end business," Iwata said.

The Wii U's performance was more than a little disconcerting. Although Wii sales during the same point in its lifecycle were only 3.2 million units, they would have been much higher if not for Nintendo's inability to meet its massive demand. For a long time after the Wii's launch, the device was hard to find on store shelves, and consumers would line up each week in the hopes of scoring one of the few units available at their local retailer.

The Wii U's situation is much different. Nintendo's console is easy to find on store shelves. The trouble is, demand for the console -- especially in the U.S. -- is weak.

Nintendo dealt with a similar issue when it launched its 3DS in 2011. However, the company was able to boost demand and increase sales with a price cut. It appears that, for now, Nintendo won't follow that plan with the Wii U.

Still, Nintendo's console isn't cheap, compared to other hardware it has launched. The Wii, for example, launched for $249 -- $50 less than the cheaper Wii U option. Another popular Nintendo launch, the Nintendo 64, was made available for $199.

Iwata's argument was bolstered by famed developer and Mario creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. Speaking to reporters, Miyamoto said that Wii U demand will get a jump-start once people try it out and "see it is fun."