Gamers looking for cheaper console games from the next-generation Wii can toss that idea out the window. Nintendo (NTDOY) revealed on Thursday that it will price most of its first-party Wii U games at $59.99 — a $10 increase over its previous Wii console games. The more expensive pricing is most likely related to the higher development costs of producing games with high-definition graphics and GamePad controls. Nintendo’s markup isn’t out of line, either. Both Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 and Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 3 have had games with HD graphics selling for $59.99 since 2005 and 2006, respectively. Nintendo is merely playing catch-up.
According to Nintendo president and CEO of America Reggie Fils-Aime, “The vast majority of Wii U software will be $59.99. From a first-party perspective. Third parties set their own pricing.” However, not all games will be priced at $59.99. “There will be exceptions. Wii Fit U is not going to be a $59.99 product with the Balance Board, as an example. But certainly we believe that these games are big enough, robust enough, with enough demand to satisfy a $59.99 MSRP.”
At what price third-party publishers will set their games is anybody’s guess, but it’s not likely to deviate far from Nintendo’s pricing — we fully expect blockbuster games such as Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Platinum Games’ Bayonetta 2 to command top-pricing.