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Old 06-15-2012, 05:49 AM   #1
Ozena
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Cost Issues Nearly Killed Wii U Tablet Idea


At one point during development of Nintendo's new console, the cost of producing the tablet almost nixed the idea. From Ars Technica:

Quote:
"Sometime during that final discussion [of the system's design], we almost gave up on the idea of the additional screen," Iwata said in an interview with London's Telegraph newspaper. "This was due to our concern over the expected high cost; it may not have been feasible to create this and sell it at a reasonable price point for the consumers."
I wonder what the "reasonable price point" will be eventually. Just my opinion, but I'm not sure I'd be disappointed if the tablet never saw the light of day.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:15 AM   #2
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So, Nintendo almost had to kick in $0.50? I mean, clearly they're not spending a whole lot on anything else in that package. I know they want a profitable console from release, but they're skimping so much I think we may be only a generation away from the Nintendo DreamTM - a big cardboard box with a slip of paper inside that reads, "Use your imagination, kids!"
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:52 AM   #3
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This sounds like expectation-setting to me.

1) Trying to subtly suggest the final price is something that you should consider "reasonable" and 2) suggesting that the tablet controller is made of very high tech and expensive components, thus justifying the higher-than-you-might-have-expected price.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:23 PM   #4
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I'm guessing around $300 for the console? Give or take $50.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:54 PM   #5
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400-500 if it ships with the tablet controller. Also, how big is the hard drive? That is going to be a concern moving forward as well.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:55 PM   #6
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No hard drive. You can use SD cards or hook up a hard drive via USB. So you're on your own there.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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Anything over 300, -maybe- 350, with the tablet controller included, and I suspect Big N will have priced themselves out of the market sweet spot. That being said, I predict the launch price will be $399 with the tablet. (Since, incidentally, I don't think Nintendo learned their lesson from the 3DS launch price fail.)
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:07 PM   #8
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Skimping isn't the word--we need a stronger term. This machine uses the same architecture and family of components as the GCN, and is being to asked to perform under much harsher standards: HD display with a second screen to which it must broadcast and receive input. This is why I believe the simplified display graphics we saw E3 is indicative of hardware limitation, and not design choice. In case you missed that, developers may be hitting the peaks of capability at launch. Oh yeah, and no hard drive.

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Anything over 300, -maybe- 350, with the tablet controller included, and I suspect Big N will have priced themselves out of the market sweet spot. That being said, I predict the launch price will be $399 with the tablet. (Since, incidentally, I don't think Nintendo learned their lesson from the 3DS launch price fail.)
Neither do I believe anything was learned, the Japanese business model is not built to learn but to self-assure. We will see, though. I agree about the pricing structure being prohibitive as well. One of the keys to the Wii was the damn thing is practically an impulse buy.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:08 PM   #9
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So in other words, this is going to be the cheapest, crappiest tablet ever.

Meanwhile, on Monday Microsoft is going to announce an Xbox Tablet with SmartGlass, essentially turning the Xbox 360 into a Wii U before the Wii U is even out yet. LOLOLOL!
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:49 PM   #10
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I agree with the stated sentiment that Nintendo is lubing us up for something absurd with the pricing of this console. If they say anything over $299 you can forget about it. But does anyone get the sense that Nintendo realize what's at stake? I don't think so considering their (non) showing at E3.

They really need to price it aggressively. They are the RIM of the video game industry!!!
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by automaton View Post
I agree with the stated sentiment that Nintendo is lubing us up for something absurd with the pricing of this console. If they say anything over $299 you can forget about it. But does anyone get the sense that Nintendo realize what's at stake? I don't think so considering their (non) showing at E3.

They really need to price it aggressively. They are the RIM of the video game industry!!!
I don't think they realize it at all. They are coming from a position where they sold almost 100 Million Wii systems in the current generation and while the 3DS kinda stumbled at launch due to the price, they were able to quickly take a step back and lower prices (and have since lowered the price on the DSi as well) to keep themselves in the black and keep themselves on top.

They aren't in a position where they can predict the future and say to themselves, "Gee MS & Sony's next console will mop the floor with our graphics and once again you won't be able to play mainstream/hardcore games on our system."

They are going to be out in the cold again in the next generation with the hardcore gamer. The only question is if that will end up being important?

With about a billion treasured franchises, they could be a huge success just by cranking out more Mario, Zelda, Pikmin, Donkey Kong, etc, etc.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:17 PM   #12
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They're just one step from making their portable into a controller for their main system...
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:23 PM   #13
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At one point during development of Nintendo's new console, the cost of producing the tablet almost nixed the idea.
It should have. I would have thought one of the Wii lessons they should have learned was that a cheaper and lower-tech console sells really well.

Now they're possibly screwed. MS and Sony can both add 3rd-party tablet support to their existing consoles that won't cost them or the user anything if they already have the tablet. The only thing Nintendo has going for it is the tablet is built into the controller, though I'd argue that makes it a really terrible controller for anything that doesn't make excellent use of the tablet.
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:28 PM   #14
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I need to see some real compelling use for the tablet. Anything that makes me take my eyes off the screen is a no-go. Maybe they're only expecting to have slow paced games where you can afford that luxury?
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:09 PM   #15
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I need to see some real compelling use for the tablet. Anything that makes me take my eyes off the screen is a no-go. Maybe they're only expecting to have slow paced games where you can afford that luxury?
One compelling use is as game master for your friends, or as the arch-villain.

By having your own screen, you can script encounters behind your friends' backs, plan strategies they can't see (sports), and much more. When you ask what changes in gaming when one player can see both screens and the other players can see only one screen, that's called a structural change in how gaming is done, and is similar in character to the structural change of controller -> motion controls (though perhaps smaller in magnitude).

This means that new game genres will be possible that had never existed before, which could lead into some interesting new kinds of gameplay we've never quite experienced before.

Though, we've had online gaming which gives each player access to only their own screens, and these types of gamemaster-gameplay haven't popped up, so there's a rather narrow usage case where only a game where one player can see both screens is the unique case... so...
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:58 PM   #16
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I'm not so much interested in the extra screen as a touchscreen controller for a console system. That could open up a different kind of gaming in a way that motion controls attempted, but were in conflict wtih the gamer couch potato paradox. There is no possibility of me buying a WiiU but if MS's monday surprise is a tablet controller for 360, i may not be able to resist.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ElektroDragon View Post
So in other words, this is going to be the cheapest, crappiest tablet ever.

Meanwhile, on Monday Microsoft is going to announce an Xbox Tablet with SmartGlass, essentially turning the Xbox 360 into a Wii U before the Wii U is even out yet. LOLOLOL!
Wait, back in november we discussed that tablets are inherently lame and can only ever do Angry Birds. But, if Microsoft makes one, all of a sudden, they have better graphics then PS3, and games like Infinity Blade, Shadow Gun, Epoch, and NOVA 3 are all of a sudden possible? All of a sudden the idea, rejected just 6 months ago, of connecting a controller by bluetooth and [wired or wirelessly] mirroring the tablet to an HDTV is now possible?

Next you'll be saying that Carmak's prediction of tablets surpassing consoles is inevitable!

--- edit ---

Think of the achievements possible Elektro! "Achievement unlocked! -- Hypocrisy at its finest!"
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:24 PM   #18
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Wait, back in november we discussed that tablets are inherently lame can only ever do Angry Birds. But, if Microsoft makes one, all of a sudden, they have better graphics then PS3, and games
I would try to reply to you in a rational manner, but as is typical of your posts lately, it didn't make any sense. Either you're on weed or think on a completely different plane of existence that I simply cannot comprehend.

I don't remember any conversation from 6 months ago. All I said was, if MS announces some sort of Xbox Tablet with SmartGlass, it will in essence beat the Wii U to the punch and surpass it in terms of power and potential. Because the Wii U is not much more powerful than the 360, and the Xbox Tablet (or maybe Windows 8 Tablet with built-in Live?) will have way more horsepower than the Wii U tablet, which is probably just a dumb terminal to keep costs low. Yes, the Xbox Tablet would cost as much as Wii U to begin with, but unlike the Wii U tablet, it would also function separately from the blasted console.

Also, you apparently did not get the memo where I stopped being an Xbox/MS fanboy. See my sig? Yeah.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:51 PM   #19
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One compelling use is as game master for your friends, or as the arch-villain.

By having your own screen, you can script encounters behind your friends' backs, plan strategies they can't see (sports), and much more. When you ask what changes in gaming when one player can see both screens and the other players can see only one screen, that's called a structural change in how gaming is done, and is similar in character to the structural change of controller -> motion controls (though perhaps smaller in magnitude).

This means that new game genres will be possible that had never existed before, which could lead into some interesting new kinds of gameplay we've never quite experienced before.

Though, we've had online gaming which gives each player access to only their own screens, and these types of gamemaster-gameplay haven't popped up, so there's a rather narrow usage case where only a game where one player can see both screens is the unique case... so...
What game is that? Noone has made or announced anything like it yet, after having over a year to think about it we get... weapon switching. Again, I have yet to see any compelling reason for the touchpad. If we can't see the possibilities at announce/launch how long a lead time do we need? Wii sports was a perfect example of doing it right and showing possiblity. Maybe Pikman will do the same but, damn, it looked and sounded complicated and bordered on useless (IMO). Where is the killer launch app?

The original dungeon keeper was supposed to be like this (players played the heroes in MP and one other guy was the DM) but it has never been done right. And is Nintendo the company you can expect this innovation from? Touchscreen, motion controls are hella innovative from a hardware perspective but I can't see any of their key franchises taking a risk supporting such features. IMO Nintendo doesn't often take risks with their key franchises (I said often, not never).

And Nintendo platforms have been almost hostile environments for 3rd parties over the last 2 generations; partially because specs sucked which might be solved now, but because the key Nintendo franchises completely overpowered anything else out there in both name recognition and quality. If you aren't a Nintendo franchise, or a "traditional" Nitty based franchise, forgetaboutit.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:15 PM   #20
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I don't remember any conversation from 6 months ago.
I'm not saying that you necessarily participated in it -- but this topic was discussed. Game Consoles Are 'Fundamentally Doomed' says Garriott

This followed on the heels of an article 4-5 months earlier "John Carmack: 'Unquestionable' That Mobile Will Surpass Current Consoles".

Both times the premise that gaming on tablets beyond, say Angry Birds or PvZ type affair, was thought laughable.

Quote:
All I said was, if MS announces some sort of Xbox Tablet with SmartGlass, it will in essence beat the Wii U to the punch and surpass it in terms of power and potential.
Correct me, here, but you seem to be reveling in that. I'll certainly let you disagree, although, I would think that an Xbox Tablet wouldn't earn the same disdain from some on this website. Even though it was pretty soundly rejected in that thread from 6-months ago.

That is -- there are certainly those of us that find fun in gaming on a tablet. But, there are also certainly those of us that think it's a fools game, look down upon it, and stereotype it generally.

I'm just finding humor that there might be a degree of "acceptance" of tablet gaming from gamers, in general, were it to come from Microsoft.

I will state that this same "acceptance" has happened to me, before. Same as gamers, though, I don't necessarily like it pointed out to me either.
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