What's up with Wii U's pricing, Miiverse and parental controls? [Interview]

Nintendo Wii U screens
Nintendo Wii U screens

During a special event in New York last week, Nintendo had quite a lot to show and talk about regarding its upcoming console, the Wii U. The Mario maker revealed the system's two different price points, its release date, Nintendo TVii and gave a closer look at what fans have to look forward to in terms of games. But, of course, we still have questions.

For some much-needed answers, we recently chatted with Nintendo of America Entertainment and Trend Marketing Director Amber McCollom. She provided insight into the pricing decisions behind the Wii U, her thoughts on Miiverse and some details about how parental controls will work on the new console. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation:

What do you think is the most marketable feature of the Basic Set package for its target audience?

Out of the box, both sets--even the basic--once you connect to the Internet you have Miiverse, [a] great social community to exchange and have fun with. You have Internet TV, so something really non-traditional bringing all of your TV together in one place, and video chat. It's all the features you would have with the Deluxe Set, just the different memory. So I think there [are] a lot of people who might want to come in at that lower price point, and build their library the way they want to build it. Maybe they're not interested in the [boxed games] and want to download something from eShop instead. So, I think giving people that choice--and that's what I think that it's all really about--we try to give everyone a choice of where they want to come into play Wii U.

Wii U screens
Wii U screens

I'm glad you say that, because I'm also curious about how Nintendo approaches the different price points based on the different consumers they might target.

You know what, I think we will most likely market them equally. I do think that people will self-select. They'll be at retail and they'll say, "You know what? I think I'm attracted more to something that comes packaged with software right out of the box." And some people might say, "Hey, I want to build my own library." So, I think it would be the price win, but also people who really want [a game] right out of the box--they might choose the Deluxe Set.

Given the price points, which package do you foresee selling more or sell more intensely than the other, and why?

I don't know if we would have any of that data to share just yet. We launched Wii at one of the most pressing demands. We learned a lot from that, and we're prepared and have a good amount of product, so ideally we will be able to deal with this situation.

Wii U images
Wii U images

Can I ask you general impressions maybe thoughts on Miiverse, what do you think about it in comparison with the other online offerings in games?

I think Miiverse is a really unique offering, and that it is offering gamers of every level access to their friends, an opportunity to interact and share experiences, emote on it and discuss how they're feeling about the in-game gameplay. I also think, I mean maybe [this is not a fit] for your readers, but it's really important too from a parental control perspective, so--

That is very fitting, actually.

So, with the Wii U you can have 12 accounts, so let's say Dad has his favorite games and he has his Miiverse, and so can the kids. You can have that individuality within the system, and that translates over to Wii U as well, so parents can have their favorite selections that might not be appropriate for the family, kids can have their own. The way you setup the controls, keep things in line with, you know, parents expectations.

So I guess each Miiverse account is password protected?


Nintendo TVii screens
Nintendo TVii screens

Is there anything else you can speak to regarding the parental controls?

Not as much yet, but I think that Nintendo is a good partner to parents, and parental controls are always a big part of the systems that we put out. So, I think parents can be really confident that that's a big part of what we're thinking about. I think the account system, having them separate, gives the parents an opportunity to individualize it for different levels of ages.

I hope you can provide some insight into why the social stuff wasn't that big of a focus during the press event. It's surprising that we weren't told a little more about how are we going to connect and play with our friends.

Yeah, well [it's] true. We didn't spend a lot of time on Miiverse. I think the decision was that--we spent a good amount of time on that on E3, there were actually some asset--we had so much to announce, so we really wanted to focus on games and our entertainment pillar. I wouldn't say, just because it wasn't a big topic, that [it] isn't a priority, but simply since we had so much to talk about.

Are you excited to get your hands on the Wii U? Will you pass on this Nintendo console? Share with us in the comments. Add Comment.

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