“How do you feel about the Wii U having 3 SKUs?”
Alright, so the latest scuttlebutt in the Nintendo world is that the Nintendo Wii U will be making its grand entrance this November 11 and will be gracing the gaming public in three SKUs (Stock Keeping Units). Typically, when a console manufacturer launches a product with multiple SKUs, it means different features and prices based on those features.
In this case, Video Products Distributors (an American retail outlet that supplies New Egg, Amazon, and Blockbuster) has supposedly indicated that the models are:
WIIU SYSTEM – GM 11/11/12 $249.99
WIIU SYSTEM W/ – GM 11/11/12 $299.99
WIIU SYSTEM 349 W/ – GM 11/11/12 $349.99
I say ‘supposedly’ because I think this information is bull. Firstly, Video Products Distributors is an independent wholesaler who could easily set any prices, launch dates, or model numbers. I remember from my days working at Blockbuster that SKUs would be added to our systems based on wholesale information, regardless of whether that item would ever see the light of day or not. I vividly remember our systems saying at one point that Duke Nukem Forever would be coming out in April of 2009 (something that I’m sure we could all verify, didn’t happen). Secondly, VPD also happens to be a site that conveniently requires a login to access – making the leaked images hard to actually verify without a retailer login. Lastly, November 11 is a Sunday. Video games and video game hardware are typically released on Tuesdays to ensure retailers have them in stock. Shipping companies don’t run on the weekend and most stores (at least where I am) don’t stay open late on Sundays. So, yeah – this whole thing smells a little fishy to me.
But let’s humor the notion that three SKUs are going to be released. Typically, different SKUs mean different levels of memory space, amounts of peripherals, or the possibility of included games. In this case, I would say that the base model ($249.99) would include the system itself, a limited hard drive (we’ll say 20gb for the purpose of speculation), the Wii U gamepad, and possibly a Wiimote+ controller. The mid-range model ($299.99) would include the system itself, a larger hard drive (again, for speculation sake we’ll say 60gb), the Wii U gamepad, and possibly one or two Wiimote+ controllers. The largest model ($349.99) would included everything in the mid-range model, but also a game and perhaps another peripheral. Again, all of these SKU packages are based on speculation, but I legitimately don’t believe that any of the Wii U models will launch without the Wii U gamepad (the tablet controller) – it’s too essential to the core functionality of the system.
I suppose only time will tell if this ‘leaked’ information is accurate or not. That said, I really do see multiple SKUs as a great thing for gamers as it lends a certain amount of freedom to their purchasing choices. Personally, I’m likely to go for the mid-range model, even if my expectations of what will be included are wildly inaccurate.