erhaps the most important thing to consumers, after convenience, is options. Even if those options are are pointless, or downright counter-intuitive, consumers want them none the less. In a world where entertainment technology is becoming increasingly homogenized, and thus the amount of choices offered is increasing everyday, a distributor merely seeming to have fewer options can be a major disadvantage. This is doubly so when done in the face of competition, and triply so if the distributor is seen as just plain not giving enough or no options at all.
This was part of the problem with the original Wii, and has been the case for the Wii-U even more. Though this consensus mostly deals with the offered software, and not so much the package itself. It does bring up some interesting questions, however.
Imagine if Nintendo had been both constant and adamant in forcing its motion controls and other gimmicks down the consumer’s esophagus? In hindsight, few of the original Wii’s titles fully and competently utilized the motion controls (i.e. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption). Fortunately, most games did offer at least a few choices; imagine the backlash that Super Smash Bros. Brawl would have garnered if the only control option had been the Wii-mote(s)?
Sony seem to have a good understanding of this concept. For example, consider the current rumors for a (much needed) PS4/PS Vita bundle:
“If you missed the initial [rumor] you can play catch-up here.
Basically, an anonymous source of Machinima said that Sony is bundling both consoles together for around $500, and that the package will launch by the end of the year.
We decided to ask our local game shops to see if they had heard anything regarding the bundle, just to see if there was any truth to what we’d heard.
Over in the States, Steph contacted her local GameStop first and asked them if a PS4 and PS Vita bundle was on the cards.
A sales rep replied, ‘Oh no. That is two completely different systems. That would be getting about $700.00 worth of stuff. So for $700.00 to be knocked down to $400.00 I don’t think that’s going to happen […]’
[…] I then asked if the bundle was actually a thing and he replied, ‘I’ve not heard anything, I’ve probably heard as much as you – that there probably will be a bundle but as far as us having it in the show I haven’t heard anything.'”
Okay, so the current information and sources available aren’t exactly inspiring, but it’s still possible. Even without the rumored bundle above, there’s still the currently available bundles on offer:
- Standard Edition – $399.99
- Watchdogs + PS Plus Launch Day Edition – $459.98
- Knack Launch Day Bundle – $459.98
- Battlefield 4 + PS Plus Launch Day Bundle – $499.99
- Killzone + PS Plus Launch Day Bundle – $499.99
Now compare this to everything Microsoft is currently offering as far as the Xbox One is concerned:
- Xbox One Standard Edition (comes packaged with the Kinect) – $496.99
- Xbox One Day One Launch Edition (comes packaged with the Kinect) – $499.99
The fact that Microsoft is sticking adamantly to mimicking the original Wii’s motion-sensing gimmick, despite that not only have those customers (primarily casual players) but Nintendo themselves seem to have moved on, is a good example that Microsoft just isn’t getting it.
Sony’s current variety of bundles ad varying price points and content only help to further cement this idea.
In contrast, Microsoft is only giving the consumer a single real option; pay $500.00 USD and stare into the eye(s?) of the Kinect and you can play, otherwise, #DealWithIt. It is generally not a good idea to pigeonhole your customers. On top of that, the Xbox One’s “one” and only option is still the most expensive of all the bundles/standard editions for every major console.
Despite all of this, the Xbox One will still probably do well enough, but this is not the ideal way to kick off a new generation. It’s as if Microsoft is intentionally giving Sony ammunition, only to get angry when they inevitably get blasted.
It is pure cognitive dissonance on a market/financial scale.