The chief executive officer of Ubisoft, a major publisher of video games, is glad to finally see a new generation video game console – Nintendo Wii U – which will launch in the U.S. on November 18. While the novelty will clearly give a boost to sales of Ubisoft games, the head of the company is not very happy with the price ($299 - $349) of the hardware itself.
“I always prefer lower pricing, so I cannot say I am happy. I am never happy when the machines are expensive. What we have to do there is remember that compared to an iPad, it is cheap. With what it brings [to the gaming table] it is cheap. But I hope they will be able to drop their price in time,” said Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer and chairman of Ubisoft, in an interview with Games Industry web-site.
Ubisoft assigned a lot of resources on development of video games for Wii U, it will offer six Wii U titles starting November 18 and then will release two more in the first quarter of 2013. Among third-party game developers, Ubisoft is the biggest supporter of Wii U since even Activision and Electronic Arts will release only seven and three Wii U titles, respectively, between the launch and March 31, 2013.
All-in-all, Ubisoft is dramatically interested in the success of Nintendo Wii U. The lower the price, the higher are unit sales of any game console and the better are sales of video games. However, Nintendo will lose money on every single Wii U device, which means that it is not in its interests to completely fulfill the demand for the product. In fact, Nintendo expects to sell around 5.5 million Wii U game consoles as well as 24 million of video games for Wii U worldwide by March 31, 2013, the company revealed in its financial release this week. It is noteworthy that by the same date the firm plans to sell another five million of its previous-generation Wii game systems. By contrast, Nintendo expected to sell 12 million Wii game systems in the second half of its fiscal 2011 (October, 2011 – March 31, 2012), which means that at present Nintendo is either very conservative about Wii U success, has production issues with its next-gen console or plans to intentionally limit the amount of consoles it will sell to trim losses.
Nintendo Wii U is based on a custom IBM Power microprocessor equipped with 1GB of system memory as well as a modern custom AMD Radeon HD graphics processing unit with high-definition graphics and video support that is equipped with 1GB of graphics memory. The consoles come with 32GB or 8GB of NAND flash storage and an optical drive to read custom discs.
The main feature of the game console is its unique Wii U GamePad controller with 6.2" touch-screen that also features an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, an inward-facing camera, a microphone and speakers that can be used to play both classic Gamecube/Wii games as well as specially designed titles that take advantage of the screen. Each Wii U console will be partnered with a new controller and can also use up to four additional Wii Remote or Wii Remote Plus controllers. The system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories.
Nintendo Wii U console will land in the U.S. on November 18, then in Europe on November 30, then in Japan on December 8, 2012. In the U.S., the basic bundle will cost $299, the premium bundle be available for $349. In Europe, the basic white version will be sold for €299/£249, while the deluxe black will carry €349/£299 price-tag. In Japan, the white and black Wii U will cost ¥26250 and ¥31500, respectively.