In the video game world, you can never say never. After repeatedly telling the press and its own shareholders that it would not be dropping the price of the Wii U in the “foreseeable future,” Nintendo has done just that. In a press release sent out earlier today, Nintendo announced a discount to the Deluxe version of the console, which previously retailed for $349. That system will now sell for $299. The Wii U model that previously occupied that price point, the Basic, had less storage (8 GB) and no included games. The Basic will no longer be sold by Nintendo.

Perhaps we’ll start to see some white Deluxe models soon?

nintendo-2dsAlso included in the release was an announcement for Nintendo’s newest handheld, the Nintendo 2DS. In case you haven’t gathered from the name, the 2DS is essentially a 3DS without the 3D capabilities. For some, that might actually be a feature. If you’re one of those folks who can do without the 3D effects while playing games — especially portable titles — you’ll save a a little bit of money by going with the 2DS. The system is set to launch on October 12 at a price of $129.99 — about $30 cheaper than the original 3DS models are selling for.

The 2DS does make some interesting design choices, by the way. Gone is the clamshell approach that we’ve been used to since the Advance SP. The 2DS is more like a tablet with two screens, a joystick, a d-pad and buttons. I’m not sure I’m a fan of it, since it means you’ll now need to carry the device around in a case (which, coincidentally, Nintendo will be happy to sell you).

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So what brought on this sudden change of heart? It’s likely a combination of poor Wii U sales and the coming launches of both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. The Wii U is the weakest system of the three, and with a PlayStation 4 only ringing up $50 higher than the Wii U Deluxe, choosing between the two would’ve been an easier decision for gamers to make. By dropping the price $50, Nintendo has at least two reasons for gamers to choose the Wii U over either of the other next-generation consoles: its cheaper price and the allure of Nintendo’s legendary IPs.

And as far as the 2DS goes, it’s likely cheaper for Nintendo to make, and it knows there is an audience of portable gamers who aren’t really interested in playing their titles in 3D and may have avoided the 3DS for that reason. By putting out a 2D portable that can play all of the popular 3DS games — including the upcoming Pokemon titles — Nintendo can pull some of those gamers back.

Does the Wii U price drop have you thinking about picking one up? We’d love to get your thoughts below.

  • When I first saw the 2DS, my first reaction was this is awful, ugly, and for 40 dollars, I’ll take the form factor and 3d of a 3DS. But I think this move plays into Nintendo’s overall strategy of appealing to younger gamers.

    After reading up on this announcement on reddit, I found that this solves the common problem that parents have of their kids ripping off the top portion of clam shell devices (mostly due to wear and tear). With 10 years of clam shell portable gaming devices (starting with the Gameboy SP) Nintendo’s big complaint from parents probably was the durability of clam shell products.

    This device will make parents happy because of the durability, this will bring younger gamers into the loyalty circle of Nintendo which will allow for Nintendo to have loyal customers from a very young age, and help extend Nintendo’s reach for a huge number of years.

    Overall not the handheld for me, but a smart business move for Nintendo, especially with the holiday season coming up. 120 bucks in a down economy with the sell of backwards compatibility for thousands of dirt cheap high quality games will see these guys flying off the shelf.

    I’m just throwing this last point out there. People from the ages of 18-35 probably don’t purchase hand held consoles as much as younger people because of a lack of time. Because of this this market probably sticks to casual smart phone games as opposed to anything that requires any amount of commitment beyond a train ride, or a bathroom break. So yet again giving a gaming device to very young children makes even more sense for Nintendo.

    • Hi Paul,

      I don’t doubt there’s a market for the device. But I’m not sure the slate form factor was the way to go. Even discounted at $130, if a kid plans on taking this anywhere, the parent would be wise to buy a case due to the exposed screens. Buy a case and you might as well have bought a 3DS. And it’s less portable, to boot.

      • I can see what your saying about portability, but when you’re buying a console for a kid you’re buying them a case period because of their clumsiness and small pockets. Even if kids don’t have cases they have their mom’s purses and backpacks. In addition to that, with small kids you want bigger bulkier devices that they are less likely to lose.

        Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advanced were all open faced video game systems that had large appeals to a much younger demo, and the larger size didn’t matter then, my guess is the size won’t matter too much now. This play is all about durability and target market expansion. Also, the video game systems that play in this much younger demo are much bulkier and even uglier. I’m talking leapster, vtech, etc. Overall this is a play on the younger than 7 market.

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