Specifics on Nintendo’s forthcoming Wii U console remain scant in the run up to its expected release toward the end of this year. However, a new report suggests that the console will debut at no less than $300. Interestingly, it seems that the console could be a moneymaker for Nintendo simply based off the per-unit profit margin as each Wii U is reported to cost the game company a mere $180 to build.
These figures come from an anonymous source quoted by Forget the Box. Their source claims to be intimately familiar with the construction of the Wii U, breaking down the prices of individual components. Got your grain of salt ready? From Forget the Box:
The new NFC [Near Field Communication] capabilities for each new Wii U controller costs no more than $5 to implement, and the prices of NFC implementation in mobile devices is expected to fall below $1 in the near future. [...] “The cameras in the Wii U controller are an estimated manufacturing cost of $6. They are slightly better quality than the 3DS and DSi cameras. The touch screen has a manufacturing cost estimated at $14.”
According to the source, Nintendo’s primary goal with the Wii U is to keep costs low and the per-device profit margin high, in order to meet demands from investors. This might explain why other rumors have pointed to graphics and processing power that still fall well below the bar established by current generation consoles.
It could also be that with the focus Nintendo is placing on an online network and downloadable content — which was dabbled with on the Wii and more fully realized on the 3DS — the lower cost may reflect the company’s interest in establishing a continuous revenue stream. Getting a new, cheap-ish system in a lot of homes at low cost to Nintendo means a river of money as users start to buy online games.
Of course, this is purely speculative. But even if it proves true, it might not really mean all that much. Keep in mind that in addition to the cost per device, companies must add other costs like packaging, marketing, and R&D. Furthermore, while many criticisized the 3DS for its wonky screen, enormous size, and high cost (and, notably, high profit margin) the device still sold like hotcakes (well, warmcakes).
As always, the name of the game is “wait and see.”
- New Playstation slated for 2013 release
- The new Xbox might have a touch screen controller
- Nintendo announces the Wii U