Rich people buy the cheaper video game console

Wii and moneyIf I were to tell you that the richer a person is, the more likely they are to have purchased a Wii over the obsidian superbox PS3, would you believe me?

After all, Ken Kuturagi informed us all in the early goings on of the 2006 calendar year that people would work second jobs to get their greasy paws on the fingerprint adverse PS3, so it would only make sense that the more money you had, the more apt you would be to not even consider price when purchasing a console, right?

O, if only it were true! And don’t worry, this is a post about Nintendo, I promise!

According to the latest Nielsen numbers (please note, I am not the Jack L. that heads the Nielsen marketing department), households with mad bank buy Wii’s and then prominently display their white facades next to expensive plasma televisions and Cristal-stocked wet bars.

To me, the humble reporter who currently has -$26 in his checking account, that means a few things. One, I always make it a point to joke with my girlfriend that we should “so buy that $250 bottle of Cristal” while we’re out canoodling in Boston’s North End. Then we just laugh and laugh and she pays for the bill because she’s more successful than I am. However, the second and more important point is that the Wii is officially the rich man’s new symbol of coolness; with which he will beat the dregs of society about the face and neck to remind them that he is unimportant. Not only was this system snatched up like a mistakenly delivered cake at a fat camp by the techno-savvy early adopters (me, most of you), it was also snatched up by Bentley driving Nantucket nannies, to deliver to the white-gloved hands of today’s elite!

More importantly, this is iPhone territory. Pardon another Apple comparison, but this is also iPod territory. Both devices were two things when they first arrived on the scene: damn expensive, and status symbols. And this is not Hypercolor t-shirt status symbol territory, or the artery slicing snap bracelet fad zone; this is a lasting brand that exists because of a combination of incredible marketing, solid design, ease of use, and fun factor. This is the feeling that millions of people got when they saw those white earbuds and cords in the subway. Envy. Sometimes they got mugged too, but that didn’t stop companies like Phillips and even Sony from manufacturing white ear buds and cords to mimic the very act of listening to an iPod.

The fact that the Wii is more apt to be purchased by today’s Richie Riches is also a great thing for the console because, like it or not, poor people want what rich people got. Aside from money, as is the case in my case, this means the Wii. It’s Chasing the Jones’s, but with a sleek little white box and a crazy remote that senses your movement instead of a new pool. At this point, people see that the wealthy folks on the corner have a Wii, and suddenly they don’t even know why they want one too. They just do. Good thing for them the system works, and if Dave’s post on upcoming games is any indication, you’d be getting in at the right time if you bought in today.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the DS Lite also falls in this category (although I’d modify it to affluent jetsetters, sted stuffy blue blood Kennebunkport types, because it’s officially super cool to be playing a DS Lite at the airport now). However, aside from online play there’s little we can do to monitor who’s playing portables right now. My uneducated guess on the matter: There are many, many more people playing DS Lite’s right now than there are playing PSP’s.

So, while you may despise rich people — I know I do, because I want their money — remember that this elite group of people is driving interest into your favorite system, and therefore is driving money to it on behalf of developers. More interest + more money = more games = more fun. Pretty simple.

Unrelated Nintendo note: The youngest sister got Mario Party 8 for her Wii this weekend. With a big group of people, this game could be pretty fun.