Nintendo Competes Against Self By Offering Slightly Worse Wii At Same Price

If you’re looking for a Wii that lacks the ability to play old GameCube games for the same price as one that can, Nintendo has a deal for you. In a press release, the company reveals that it’s releasing a newer version of the console that takes away its backward compatibility for $150, the same price as the old version of the product.

The dueling consoles, which seem to be poised to cause confusion with customers, include different packed-in games. The old, GameCube-compatible Wii bundle will continue to come with Mario Kart Wii and the plastic steering wheel shell accessory. The new, non-GameCube-playing Wii — due out Sunday — will bring New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack along for the ride.

In the release, Nintendo emphasizes that the new bundle is not phasing out the old one, and that both will continue to be available. “Both Wii bundles offer tremendous value to consumers and families looking to expand their home entertainment options,” the release cheerfully proclaims.

Gamecube-free Wii refresh heads to North America, competes with more versatile predecessor [Engadget]


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  1. PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

    Kinda like how the plan was originally to have the GBA and DS running side-by-side?

    In other words: “Removing backwards compatibility lowers the cost of the console and more profit for us. Please don’t notice when we actually phase out the BC systems, despite what we said.”

    A shame. I can’t remember the last time I played a Wii game on my Wii. I only ever play GC games on it. But, my Wii is the Netflix device, anyway…

  2. flyingember says:

    wait, so Nintendo is increasing their cost in terms of products they sell, increasing the difficulty of selling their products to companies sales staff, making for more options for a consumer to be confused over and calling it a benefit?

    Why not just sell one model of Wii and offer one of two games at a discount with purchase?

    • PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

      The thing about Nintendo is that they never take a loss on hardware sales. (While it took MS years just to get to the profit line on the original Xbox.) Since sales have slowed, this is a way for them to keep the price the same for consumers, but to make more money (since the system is $100 less than when it first came out).

      It’s a smart move for Nintendo. I just would think that the market is so saturated at this point with Wiis if it will really make a difference.

  3. Big Cheese Make Hair Go Boom says:

    Personally, I see this as a non-issue.

    I have a game cube and wii…but, in the what…3-4 years I have owned my wii, I have played my game cube games in my wii maybe three times.

    It is just a matter of them removing legacy support…happens all the time in the electronics industry.

    • TheWraithL98 says:

      I am the opposite of this. I’m a very casual gamer, so I skipped the gamecube entirely, and the library of gamecube games was a big selling point for me on the Wii. Taking that off the table and adding nothing to replace it, but not adjusting the price seems like a losing proposition to me.

      • Twonkey says:

        I’ll do you one better, Big Cheese. In the five years that I’ve had my Wii, I haven’t played GC games on it even once.

        Anyway, TheWraithL98, I don’t think that the plan is to remove the older models from store shelves altogether once this is released, so you should be able to locate a backwards-compatible Wii for awhile if for some reason you don’t already have one. :)

      • coren says:

        You can still get the BC model. I think they still make it.

        Thing is though, we’re close on five years since the Wii was released – beyond 4 since the last gamecube game was made (whereas new PS2 games still come out, at least as of March this year). While the BC is nice, most of the games are several years old or more and at some point you can’t support the older generations.

    • Guppy06 says:

      I’ve got the GameCube versions of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, both of which support rumble.

      The Virtual Console download versions of each? Not so much.

  4. Cat says:

    Sony? Is that you?

  5. RickinStHelen says:

    So if a camera maker had a camera that took film but was also digital, and after film became almost unavailable, dropped that feature, would that be bad? The Game Cube came out in 2001, by 2007 no new games were being produced for it. It is fourth quarter 2011, why should they support a ten year old game base that has had no new titles in four years? Nintendo is ramping up for the Wii U, which will be a major change for them. Supporting the Game Cube legacy in the Wii is not good business.

    • Misha says:

      Because not everyone plays new titles? Because some people like to replay older titles?

      • Twonkey says:

        Those people would be stupid to buy a Wii if they’re not purchasing it primarily to play Wii games on, what with the fact that you can get a Gamecube for like $25 bucks used these days.

    • shepd says:

      Yes, it would be bad if it were still marketed under the same name and model.

      I suppose the model NUMBER has changed, but to everyone who is normal it’s a “Wii”.

      It’d be fine if they called it the “Wii minus” or something like that, so it’s easy to pick out of a crowd. Otherwise, it’s a little sneaky. I imagine the box will just not advertise being gamecube compatible rather than advertising “THIS MODEL WILL *NOT* PLAY GAMECUBE GAMES”.

  6. ganzhimself says:

    They will continue to sell both bundles until existing stock of the Backwards Compatible systems is exhausted. Then they will quietly only offer the systems on the new chipset without BC.

  7. JonBoy470 says:

    Other tidbits…

    There’s more cost-cutting than just the legacy GC support. By packing in New Super Mario Bros. Wii instead of Mario Kart Wii they have an excuse to no longer include a Wii Wheel. Also, “designed to lay flat” means they’re no longer packing in the vertical stand. I imagine this also allows them to make the box a little smaller, further reducing cost.

    • JoeDawson says:

      I am sure the new revision breaks existing jailbreak methods, though I have not looked into that yet.

    • coren says:

      I might be mistaken, I don’t follow the prices or age of wii games – but hasn’t wii mario kart been out for much longer than new super mario (and thus would cost less if you were to get either bundle and buy the game that comes with the bundle you didn’t get)

  8. Outrun1986 says:

    You always have the people who will buy the new model just to have it in their collection, especially when it comes in a new color… omg I must have it! So it is a smart move because someone, somewhere is gonna buy it.

    Seriously, downgrades are what is getting Nintendo in trouble. They downgraded the DSi by taking the GBA slot out and now they are doing this (the camera in the DSi is so poor its useless), and now they are removing a feature from the Wii for seemingly no reason whatsoever.

    In the portable market Nintendo is no longer relevant, at least here, everyone and I mean everyone is switching to iOS devices. I haven’t seen a kid with a DS here in at least a year but now they all have the iPod touch or iPhones in their hands. Good or bad mobile is all the rage here. Doesn’t help that increasingly more and more DS games are being released/ported for the iOS platform, like Scribblenauts which was just released for iOS.