When the Wii U first launched, it seemed like its price-point was in a pretty good place. For $299, players could get the console alone, while $50 would buy you an extra game and extra memory. Compared to the previous generation of consoles, it seemed like the 8th generation would be an affordable one after all.
As it turned out, the 8th generation was even cheaper than we thought it could be. When the PS4 launched, just $50 more expensive than the Deluxe model of the Wii U, the console packed in 500GB of hard drive space and 8GB of RAM, four times what the Wii U had. By all accounts, the PS4 was the most affordable console in terms of the amount of power for the price. Even now, the PS4 can be found for $299, the same price as the Wii U, while the Xbox One can be purchased for even less: $249 with a game included.
With the NX, it looks like Nintendo is no longer even making an attempt to compete with Sony or Microsoft, from a hardware, price, or conceptual perspective. However, in cutting its own path, Nintendo's best choice would be perhaps to turn its console into an impulse buy.
If there's anything we have learned this generation, it's that Nintendo games alone will not sell a console. The Wii U actually had a rather robust first-party lineup its first few years, with heavy-hitters like Smash Bros, Mario Kart, 3D World, Pikmin, Donkey Kong, and more. Nintendo has to provide something that not only offers games, but is cheap enough that gamers will be able to pick it up in addition to their PS4 or Xbox One.
With the PS4 and Xbox One hitting combined sales of 60 million units, Nintendo can no longer angle the NX as a primary console. Instead, Nintendo must convince gamers to pick up its platform fully aware that other consoles are already in so many homes.
So, what would convince consumers to pick up the NX as an "impulse buy?"
First of all, the price point must be low, lower than the PS4 and at least matching the Xbox One's price of $249.99. In fact, if the NX could hit $199, that would be even better. Nintendo has previously stated that it doesn't plan to sell the NX at a loss, but that could change. Sure, Nintendo may take a loss at the very beginning, but ultimately this strategy could pay off if a high number of adopters purchase the console as a "hey, why not" purchase. Gamers are getting older, and their disposable income could surely afford a cheap $200 console.
Another important factor which is often overlooked is the packaging. If the NX actually is a mobile platform with a TV-connected base, it should be able to fit into a small box. In fact, publishers like Nintendo often pay retailers like BestBuy and Walmart to promote their products and expand shelf-space. Perhaps it would be wise for Nintendo to pay Walmart to have a small NX package available at every electronics check-out point.
Perhaps someone is buying a TV, and the salesperson would say:
"Hey, there's this new Nintendo platform. It has Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming. It's only $199 and it plays all sorts of Nintendo games like Mario Kart and Smash Bros. Oh, and you can take it on the go! So, your children can use it in the car as a handheld platform."
How would an affordable console like that not sell like hot cakes? With a low price and a nice package, the NX could easily pass as an easy impulse purchase.
What do you think? Could Nintendo angle the NX as a cheap, impulse buy machine? Or, do you think the console should be more expensive and a little more standard? Let us know what you think in the comments below!