Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wii Controllers are too Expensive

I'm busy shopping around for a Nintendo Wii for Marcee this Christmas, trying to see what I can find within my budget.  Obviously, I'd like to pick up an extra game or two, but when I crunch the numbers, this becomes problematic.  One major expense completely consumes my budget before I've even begun....the game controllers.

The Wii Remote sells for $40, and the Nunchuk for $20.  You pretty much need a second set at the beginning, since Wii Sports is a multiplayer arcade title, so that's a requirement.  Getting four controllers as quickly as possible is another requirement, especially once your circle of friends have become hooked.  Believe me, Wii Sports Tennis is spectacular fun with four players.

With the arrival of Wii Sports Resort, however, there's a third piece of hardware that you need, and that's the Wii Motion Plus.  Thank God one comes packed with the game, but for a very short while there were two, and that would have made our lives much easier.  Now we will have to buy the WM+ seperately, at another $20 a pop.

This month, the new black Wiimotes became available, and they come attached with WM+ at a price of $50.  All of this means that each set of Wii controllers will set you back at least $70.

Third-party software developers complain mightily about their difficulty in selling their games on the Wii, but one possible reason I've never heard anyone discuss is the controllers.  When you have to spend $70 for the second, third, and fourth player, that cuts very deeply into your gaming budgets.  All that is left now is enough for one more $50 game.  By this point, I'm feeling very conservative with my dollars.  I want the maximum value, something that we'll be playing for a very long time.  And that means I'm only going to consider first-party Nintendo titles.

If you're only going to buy one extra game for the Wii, then you should make it Wii Sports Resort.  It's a masterful followup to Wii Sports with a dozen different events that will keep everybody happy for a very long time.  It's one of the year's best games, and it is destined to become one of the console's greatest hits.

But you can see where this is headed.  I'll need to get a second Wii Motion Plus, and that automatically adds $10 or $20 to my bill.  And that means the end of the gaming budget, so no more games.  I might consider Wii Play, which has become immensely popular because it comes packed with a Wii Remote, but that also kills the budget, which means no more games.

That means I can't get EA Sports Active, I can't get Muramasa, I can't get De Blob, I can't get Boom Blox Bash Party.  Heck, Super Mario Bros 5 and Mario Kart Wii are waiting in the wings - those games are must-haves.

Sometimes, this hobby feels painfully overpriced.  I realize Nintendo isn't running a charity, and they're entitled to make as much money as they can.  They earned it.  But I would greatly appreciate if those controllers were more reasonably priced.  And I'm sure the software community would feel the same way.  If you want to boost Wii sales, this is your smartest move.

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