The holidays are undoubtedly one of the most aggressive times of the year for game retailers, with multiple consoles competing for a place in your living room. This year is perhaps going to be one of the most aggressive, especially with the Nintendo Wii U hitting the market in November and rumors surrounding Microsoft and Sony’s next consoles circulating. Along with the anticipated holiday bundles, both Nintendo and Microsoft have announced price cuts for their respective consoles. While the Wii and Xbox 360 are pushing 6 and 7 years respectively, the price cuts are an effort to ship more units of the ageing hardware. Any sort of a price reduction is welcome, but you’ll still notice a huge contrast in prices between the two systems.
For Nintendo’s part, they are bundling together a black Wii system and two games, Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, which will be packaged on one disc. The price reduction is $129.99 US, which is $20 less than most retailers are currently selling the system for. The value of this new bundle will depend on how much you enjoy the Wii Sports titles, as this will now be the default pack-in game for the console. The previous bundle retailed for $149.99 and included New Super Mario Bros Wii, which on its own still retails for $60. In that respect, the price drop is not as grand as it might initially seem. Having said that, you would be hard pressed to argue that the Wii is still the more affordable system when compared to its competition.
Nintendo’s main competition when it comes to price chopping is Microsoft, who just announced a $50 price cut for two of their current Xbox 360 models. The 4 GB and 250 GB models will both receive the price reductions, and included bonuses such as packed in games and even the Kinect in some of them. The less expensive 250 GB model will come with a retail copy of Forza Motorsport 4 and a download code for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and will retail for $249.99. The other 250 GB bundle will include the Kinect sensor, Dance Central 2 download code, Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures. This bundle can be yours for $359.99. Also retailing around the $250 range is the 4GB model, which comes packed with the Kinect sensor and Kinect Disney Adventures.
So are these bundles good value for consumers? In the case of the Xbox 360, charging upwards of $300 for a console that’s pushing 7 years is questionable. However, considering the added value that comes with the packed-in games, it’s a good deal when compared to what the system and the games currently sell for. The new Wii bundle is something I’m less excited about, since they swapped an arguably more desirable game for the token sports titles and only reduced it by $20. Regardless, both systems have never been more affordable. For those who have been on the fence about getting them, this is as good a time as any to take the plunge.
Note: As of this writing, the retail prices and console bundles are only confirmed for North America. It has yet to be confirmed if these will extend to other regions as well.