Price hike on third-party Wii U games

Black Ops 2 to be sold for £55 at some outlets; most retailers selling titles at a premium

Retailers across Britain are selling Wii U editions of multiplatform games at a significantly higher price point than their Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts.


Analysis undertaken by CVG shows that third party games from Activision, THQ, Ubisoft and EA all show a significant mark-up on Wii U games when compared to the Xbox 360 version.

But a games analyst has said that the premium price tags are commonplace for new consoles, and has given several explanations for the price disparity.

Mainstays such as Assassin's Creed 3 and Call of Duty Black Ops 2 are, on average, around £10 more expensive on Wii U. BioWare's sci-fi opus Mass Effect 3, meanwhile, is twice the price as the Xbox 360 edition that was released earlier in the year.
Other retailers have some erratic spikes in their prices, with GAME selling the Wii U edition of Epic Mickey 2 at an £18 premium over the Xbox 360 version.

Online outlet Zavvi, meanwhile, appears to be aggressively discounting its Wii U range to - in most cases - match the price of current gen systems.

Wii U price comparison

Wii U price comparison

Wii U price comparison

PS3 prices for the games above, in most cases, are identical to Xbox 360 prices

Piers Harding-Rolls, the head of games analysis at IHS Screen Digest, said "you can understand why this is happening, and historically you do see this practice with games for new consoles".

"The higher Wii U games prices are a function of several factors. One is the wholesale price of the games, which you would expect to be relatively higher than the platforms that have been on the market for quite some time.

"These prices are also driven by the fact that publishers want to protect the long-term positioning of their games, so with new consoles it can be higher.

"Another major factor is the retailers' margin," he added. "The question is, where do they feel they can position the pricing of the Wii U games? It's a new platform on the market, so retailers are looking at how much a premium they can price their games at.

"There are other cost factors. It may be more costly to produce these games, there may be bigger licensing costs to pay to Nintendo at this stage in the cycle."

Nintendo has confirmed a Wii U release date of November 18 in the US, and a Wii U release date of November 30 in Europe. The company has set the US Wii U price at $299 for the basic model, while the UK Wii U price starts at £230.