When he’s not faking a defection to the IGN Xbox 360 site, IGN Wii editor-in-chief Matt Casamassina is busy making blog posts I consider worthy of Sony’s Press Relations page. People regularly defend this corporate blogger because “he really does love Nintendo,” but it’s all a wash when posts like his latest hit the Net.
In a stunning display of unabashed back-patting and inane pseudo-economics analysis, ol’ Cass breaks out the “is it bad to make a profit on a game console?” chestnut and reminds us that he thinks $200 would be much better.
I agree, it would be better. You know what else would make things better? If I had the ability to fly. And to see through things with X-Ray vision. And make my office furniture spontaneously turn into delicious edible treats that I could consume while firing off huffy, snark-filled posts about how much I disagree with the seizure-inducing IGN. Point is, we the rabble made the $200 a false reality by believing in our own hype. As I have said before, the $249 price point was set in stone the moment Nintendo said “will sell for no more than $250.” Get mad at yourself for believing the fantasy.
Key Casamassina point: Price is $50 too high at $250. While I absolutely hate the Apple/Nintendo comparison that has expectedly sprung up, I need to make one here out of necessity. When it comes to electronics, especially electronics whose goal is to become mainstream, the $250 price point doesn’t amount to spit. Once upon a time, iPods went for $399 or more, and people bought them. Today, they go from $79 to $349, and people buy them in droves. Regardless of what Microsoft says about the Zune and Apple’s shrinking market share, it’s Apple that people think of when buying music players, to the tune of more than 70% of the market. People will see the demos of the Wii, hear about it from friends like they did with Tracey Clark, and finally play it themselves. And just like the iPod, the hundreds of dollars they’ll have to spend won’t seem so bad. This is especially true when right next door in the store aisle sits a loud, obnoxious and even higher priced alternative that may or may not be overheating at the time. Oh, and the Wii includes a game that illustrates in simple terms how the system will play you say? You mean someone doesn’t have to explain to me how to use the console? It just works? Here’s my money and a first born child to be named later.
Second key point: We should be getting more controllers. There’s all this talk and crying about extra controllers these days, and how if Nintendo wanted to include the whole family, they’d have given us two, or four, or a dozen Wiimotes for the holidays in our Wii boxes. This argument is irrelevant, because it assumes that the person who owns the console is the sole proprietor. This is not anywhere near to what Nintendo has said its Blue Ocean strategy will entail. Not even close. Who is to say that my sister, or my dad or mom, or even my dog can’t go out and buy a Wiimote on their own? What’s stopping that? If I bought a Wii and had control over all the ways to interact with it, that is yet another layer of obstruction to getting everyone involved with the Wii. That’s what the small amount of memory is for in the controller, to make each Wiimote the property of the person who uses it. To personalize it to the point that they are carrying it over to a friend’s house to play their Wii. In this sense, Nintendo has done, again, exactly as advertised. When you see those four people playing WiiSports in those silly ads, those controllers are theirs. They contain their little Mii avatar, some personal info, and they belong to them. To say that I have control over their avatar and that their controller must remain with MY Wii console would defeat the purpose, and would make the Wii just like everything else available today. Rubbish.
Third key point: Bad release date. Do you honestly believe that a company that has confirmed it will be launching 4 million consoles without any incidents in manufacturing gives one single solitary thought about Sony right now? Sony, with its 400,000 units and history of outright lying to the consumer about anything it can? Nintendo doesn’t care about Sony or its release dates because, as The Wiikly has so eloquently pointed out, the company in the eyes of Nintendo is irrelevant. The PS3 release, an assured sell out, is a drop in the pond before the following Sunday when Nintendo will flashboil an entire ocean. The media blitz, online and off, will be incredible. You won’t recognize Nintendo in the coming months, and I suspect that is exactly the point.
So, maybe I’m jealous. Because some people get paid to write about Nintendo and I don’t, but I doubt it. I write here with no other goal in mind than to intelligently and passionately get the word out about Nintendo ”“ for better or worse. You introduce money and fame into that equation, well, you get the results you see in the link below.