Wii U in July, 2012 for $400 on Paul Gale Network
Wii U in July, 2012 for $400…packed with Wii Sports 2?

We’ve already known for half a year that Wii U will be vastly more powerful than Wii and coupled with its new, impressive Ucontrol tablet/controller hybrid, you could expect the system to be more expensive than Wii was at its launch, but that wasn’t necessarily a guarantee.  You see, if Wii U was “just as powerful” or in the same general league as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 [(thus having chip sets comparable to platforms over 6 years old (by the time it comes out in 2012)], then you can say that it’s possible for the system to be around $300.  

A new console debuting in 2012 with tech that’s just a little more powerful than Microsoft’s and Sony’s current machines would drop the price of the Wii U by a good margin, but what would raise the price up a bit would be the inclusion of the Ucontrol.  However, it was several months ago that sources from a few third parties, hinted at me that Wii U would be significantly stronger than Xbox 360/PS3.  If those statements are true and Wii U is a console that not only provides a new way of playing, but is also a true step above the current HD systems and can still hold its own (even if weaker like PS2 was to GameCube and Xbox) against Xbox 3 and PlayStation 4, then to have such a system be available in 2012…I think it’ll be anywhere from $350 minimum to $400 with a pack-in.

I honestly believe that Nintendo should and quite possibly will pack in Wii Sports 2 with the Wii U, much like they did Wii Sports with Wii.  Show off what the Ucontrol can do, totally “wow” over the Wii crowd (in which many’s first system was Wii) with how much better the graphics are on Wii U, allow the game to be played with the Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck for the classic titles from the first Wii Sports in addition to the Ucontrol, and boom: perfect recipe to get people talking and buying, once again.

If Nintendo couples a mass market appealing game like Wii Sports 2 and sticks it in every Wii U box, has a new Mario ready at launch (that’d be a first for a Nintendo console in 16 years), brings out The Last Story for Wii that same day (for US), sees a strong release from Retro Studios (and they are making something big), has versions of Ninja Gaiden 3, Batman: Arkham City, and Darksiders 2, available day one, with each looking “much” (not just a little) better than the Xbox 360/PS3 builds, and a decent remaining lineup of 3rd party titles with a few exclusives thrown in there, then Nintendo will have its best shot in generations to earn the purchase of both casual and hardcore.

From my perspective, if I knew without any doubt that Xbox 3 and PlayStation 4 would come out in November, 2013 and November, 2014 respectively, and that they’d just be an Xbox and GameCube, with Wii U being a PS2 (I’m talking about graphic levels here), then I’d even shell out $500 to have a true next gen console from Nintendo arrive 1.5-2.5 years early.  And that’s what I’m alluding to: a July, 2012 launch for Wii U.

“Nintendo’s new machine is powerful and though I hate to bash, it won’t be another Dreamcast. This will be the PS2 of its generation.”  April 19th, 2011

If I were Nintendo, I would push for a worldwide launch of Wii U between July 8th and July 29th, next year.  Of course, this is assuming that enough hardware will be ready and that there’ll be enough solid games on day one and in the first three month launch window.  But assuming that those things can be completed in the next 7 months, July, 2012 would be perfect.  You’ve got E3 2012 that runs June 5th-7th and during the Nintendo Pre-E3 Show, they’d have all of the eyes in gaming world on them, have a dazzling display of next-gen Mario, Zelda, Smash Bros., Metroid,  and a few 3rd party surprises, and end with, “By the way, everyone in attendance today just received a Wii U…one month early.  Yes, pre-orders for the public officially begin today as we’re having a world wide launch between July 8th and July 29th.  Thank you.”

It sounds pretty incredible if you ask me.  Now it is completely speculative on my part (with a dash of wishful thinking), but I think that with all the hype that would come out of E3 and the nonstop media blitzing over the next month and half…this strategy has very little room for failure.  I could be WAY off too.  After all, what if Nintendo’s big guns aren’t ready until November, 2012?  What if games like Pikmin 3 and Mario Wii U aren’t ready until the holiday season?  That could be the case, but I just don’t see a November release…

Part of the reason why I just don’t see Wii U coming out in Q4, 2012 is that 1) For Nintendo’s sake, they should really get more than a year’s head start on the opposition, moreso if their console is only a little more powerful than PS3/Xbox 360 (though as I mentioned earlier, reports seem to indicate that it’s considerably more powerful) and 2) It would seem less attractive for 3rd parties to bring forth their high profile games to Wii U if they’ve already been made available for PS3/Xbox 360 for a whole year.

We’ll hopefully discover a little more about Wii U at CES, but if not then, it looks like we’ll have to wait until E3 for all the rumors and speculation to be laid to rest.  I’m definitely excited and ready for a new console.  Bring it on!

The final thing I have for you comes from AllThingsD.com.  It’s one more piece of evidence that at least supports my idea of Wii U costing more than Wii:

Does that change as we get closer to the next-generation console, the Wii U?

The market is going to continue to differentiate based on the types of experiences that consumers want. As an example, if I’m the head of a household of a family of four, and my disposable income is $50,000 to $60,000, I’m going to continue to look at the Wii because of the software, and it’s a great entertainment device. For consumers who want to have the latest gadgets and have a higher disposable income, that’s for the Wii U.

We haven’t announced pricing or availability or any other details, but given the current pricing of the Wii, it’s not going to be there.

We’ve been very clear, the market is going to decide how long these products will coexist side by side. Our goal is to launch the Wii U and drive it into the marketplace, but it will speak to a different consumer than the one that is buying the Wii today during the holidays.

Click their site’s link up above for the full interview with Reggie Fils-Aime (who’s being quoted).  Sound off in the comments section below what you thought of any of my ideas.  Thank you and Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it and Happy Holidays to all else…or just have a good weekend if you don’t celebrate anything! 

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