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The news broke out yesterday evening that everybody will be able to get their hands on Nintendo’s Wii on November 19th in exchange of $250. The date is a bit later than could have been — it’s 2 days after the release of the PS3 — but the price is exactly what Nintendo said they wouldn’t go over. It’s also much cheaper than either the Xbox 360 ($300 or $400) or the PS3 ($500 or $600).
Yet, general reaction is a bit negative among fans, based on reading a few forums. Lots of people believed that the price would be much lower — $200, or $150, even some mentionned $99! — because Nintendo said it would be “under $250″. Of course, it was a bit naive to believe that a company would mean anything other than $249.99 with that line.
Still, this belief indicates a potential problem for the Wii: overhype. Nintendo was able to get a lot of very enthusiastic fanboys for their new platform. Hearing them, you’d believe that the Wii’s graphics would be as good as the PS3, the controls of every game would be absolutely intuitive and infinitely improved by the wiimote, and that every game will be incredibly fun and highly innovative.
Problem is, it’s not going to be the case. Even if the Wii is a very good platform — and it looks like it is — it will fall short of fanboys expectations. The hype is just too high at this point. This overhype may bring lots of sales on day 1, but it could cause a backlash afterward. If early adopters are let down by the Wii’s capabilities, it could make others reconsider their purchase.
Just look at the Segway for another example of overhype. It was supposed to be a revolution, but when people realised it was just a really cool scooter, the backlash made sales fall. Likewise, the Wii is supposed to be a Revolution, but when people realise it’s still just a really cool console, there may be a backlash.
One thing is certain, it will be interesting to see how this whole console war plays out this fall…