Wii conference day decompression

It’s been quite a day for Nintendo, no? I mean, we get the Wii price, release date, Wii Channel screens and demos, and a launch list the size of which we haven’t seen for a Nintendo console in recent memory.

And yet, I’m still kind of pissed off ”“ but not about what you’d think. I’m ticked off at the response of the “gamer population” as a whole. The Internet is a great thing ”“ it gets me paid day in and day out, and allows me to blog about the greatest video game company in the world ”“ but it certainly showed why it’s a double”“edged sword today.

Almost immediately, at 2 a.m. EST, people were grumbling about the price. We had effectively put the Big N on a pedestal that they never hinted they should be upon. Through wild rumor, online store placeholder, and rampant speculation, we the gamer populace had turned “will sell for below $250” into $229, $199, $179 and even a $150 or two (I am on the record saying $199). All were false, and none were even remotely close to being confirmed at any time by Nintendo. Here’s a free fun fact about corporations and marketers and salesmen: When they say something will be “less than [price]” then the price will always end up being $0.01 less than the stated price. To believe otherwise is neither healthy nor wise on the wallet.

And then, no offense to present company, we had Joystiq running some inane (but certainly well-worded) attack analysis on Nintendo after reports surfaced that the Wii would be immediately profitable on launch day. Imagine, a corporation, in this day and age, MAKING MONEY. Sugar coat the argument with Latin all you want, but basically the gist is that there now exists a conversation on the Internet where it is a bad thing for a company to make money on a product they are selling to willing customers. The outrageousness of it all. I can’t believe Nintendo dare to make a profit, when companies like Microsoft and Sony are losing money on their over-hyped systems. The horror of it all. Here’s some free advice for Sony: If your system is really worth $1,000 and you’re trying to target people who play console video games, then maybe you should hold off for a few years and wait for the demand to catch up to the technology. A little bird told me even the PS2, with its jagged polygons and “buy one, you’ll eventually buy another” breakage policy, still had untapped potential that was ripe for the picking (Shadow of Colossus, anyone?).

So, what did Nintendo do today? They listed a price that was exactly as promised, but wasn’t what we “thought” it should be; they included a pack-in game in an era that has created game machines that are far too expensive by themselves to be effectively marketed to the masses and warrant a pack-in title; and they listed a launch date that was in their target window. The launch date of the PS3 be damned, because Nintendo hit the mainstream media (read: those venues outside of the niche blogs like Kotaku and Joystiq) with a price point that, when compared to the competition, will obliterate it. What casual or non-gamer in their right mind would purchase a PS3 or 360 when the Wii, dripping with style, price and packed in game, sits right next to it?

To recap: Nintendo is now evil for wanting to make money; Sony is your new best friend because they are only charging you $600 for a system that *could* be more than that but no one’s really confirmed it yet; and — this last bit is for you undergrads out there looking to start out on your own — if you want to ever start a business you must demonstrate the confidence you have in your product by selling it at a loss and then rely on long term sales for success. Frackin’ brilliant.