Why the Wii Will Continue to Dominate (One Word: Mario)

It’s been rumored lately that Nintendo will cut the Wii’s price from $250 to $200 some time this month. That wouldn’t be a surprising maneuver, as Sony and Microsoft have recently tinkered with their own home console pricing.

But at first, I laughed off the news. Nintendo doesn’t even have a killer app for the holidays, I thought to myself, wondering whether a measly $50 price cut would really help juice the lead between the Wii and its competitors.

Then again, I initially forgot about Mario.

Confession: I’ve had enough of Mario ever since 2007’s Super Mario Galaxy — hailed by critics as nothing short of perfection. In my eyes, Mario 64 was the last game to bring with it a sense of magic, so either I simply grew out of Mario, or Nintendo dropped the ball. Either way, after 20-plus years of playing video games, I approached Galaxy with a “been there, done that” mindset, and the game didn’t sway me.

But I’m in the minority, and sometimes I lose sight of Mario’s enduring popularity. That’s why, when I looked at NPD’s August sales figures, I was shocked to see New Super Mario Bros., a Nintendo DS game that is 3 years old, hanging in 12th place for software sales. And that doesn’t count the number of people who bought a used copy of the game. The Nintendo DS was the top-selling console last month, at 552,900 units, and I’m sure many of those consumers chose New Super Mario Bros. as one of their first purchases.

Here’s the kicker: New Super Mario Bros. Wii is coming out in November. It’s essentially the same side-scrolling, 2D Mario game you’ve been playing for decades, but with up to four players at a time. The idea couldn’t bore me any more, but I know people will lap it up. Pair that with a Wii price cut, and Nintendo’s golden again.

I know, I said 2009 is the Year of the Playstation 3, and I still believe it, in that Sony will hit a major turning point this year. But Nintendo, which has reigned since the Wii debuted in 2006, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Jared Newman is a contributor to Technologizer. For more smart takes on technology, visit Technologizer.com.

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