Report claims $299 launch price for Nintendo Wii U

It seems like a lifetime ago since Nintendo first announced its Wii U console (in fact, it was over a year ago at E3 in June 2011), and even now, almost fourteen months on, there remain many unanswered questions.

Perhaps the most important of these is the question of price, and on that subject, Nintendo has been frustratingly tight-lipped. But Digital Spy has named Shane Satterfield – editor of Gametrailers.com, part of the Viacom empire – as having information obtained “via certain channels”, pointing to a retail launch price of $299 USD (around £190 GBP; €243 EUR).

That’s a significant chunk of change, especially considering how little its rival consoles now cost – with Microsoft even launching different payment models to hold on to the massive sales lead of its Xbox 360 – but even at just under three hundred bucks, it may represent a loss to Nintendo. Reports suggest that the break-even price of the console is around $370 (£235; €301).

With the Wii U not expected to arrive until late November, it could be a while before we get any firm info from Nintendo on the new console’s pricing. But it’s worth considering that that launch window would undoubtedly put the new device up against fierce competition from Sony and Microsoft, as they vie for sales at the start of the lucrative holiday season. As a result, Nintendo may yet be forced into pricing the Wii U more aggressively, particularly to avoid a repeat of the launch of its 3DS handheld, which consumers largely rejected in its early days due to its sky-high price.

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