According to Gamespot, on Thursday (read: probably the day everyone reading this sees this), in the evening, at a time which even Gamespot doesn’t even know yet (no one could answer my questions, and it’s not printed anywhere), Gamestop/EBGames will be doing a Wii preorder online. It’s not predicted to last long, considering the rush to buy these things will likely leave supplies low, even with the gross number of systems that Nintendo is releasing, compared to Sony’s paltry numbers.
Sounds great, right? Want to log in and get your goodly system for yourself or your loved ones?
Not so fast. It’s a Wii BUNDLE that they’re selling. And what a bundle it is! Why, it’s a super duper bundle! The kind of bundle that gets a gamer started right off with his or her Wii with lots of games and accessories, right after they have an orgasm over it!
The bundle, in all it’s glory (from their site):
* Wii Console, which already comes with a remote controller, a nunchuck, Wii Sports and all the necessities)
* A 1GB SD Memory Card
* An additional remote controller
* The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
* Trauma Centre: Second Opinion
* Red Steel
* Marvel Ultimate Alliance
* Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz
* Madden NFL 2007
* 12 Month Product Replacement Plan
* 12 Month Subscription to Game Informer
Your total cost? Only $694.88, plus applicable sales taxes and handling.
Wow… that took a lot of the air out of your sales, eh? But that’s OK, right? You can still preorder the Wii without the bundle, correct?
Not at Gamestop. This bundle is the only thing you’re getting; no other options. It’s either $700 or f*ck off. Oh, and it’s online only; no walk-ins. And shipping is NOT included in the price, either.
Not seeming so comfy, is it?
Now, for some gamers, this might seem like a great deal; after all, it’s a nice selection of the games, with some real doozies in there in the likes of Zelda and Trauma Centre. And if you want to play all those games, then yes, it works out well.
… Or does it? Let’s do some math, rounded:
$250 + 60 + 40 + 300 = $650.
Wow. That means that this “bundle” costs you $50 MORE than all the stuff put together! But wait, there’s also the 12 month guarantee, right? That’s worth the extra $50 solely because of the peace of mind, right?
Wrong. According to all four of the local stores that I’ve called, the system warrantee is almost guaranteed to run $30 for a year at almost all the stores. Furthermore, the product replacement plan for the online deal ONLY handles the CORE system, which is the same warrantee you get in the stores; the extra controller and the games are all on your dime. Oh, and don’t think you’re going to get away with that shipping and handling, either; you know that’s going to be liberally tacked on with a profit margin attached to it, as well. This means either one of two things: either that Game Informer subscription isn’t so “complimentary”, or you’re paying $20 extra for the right of a preorder.
I’d say it’s safe to say that even the most hardcore Nintendo fanboy just went limp.
Let’s recap: you’re paying $700 to have all of your stuff shipped together, when all together it costs, at MOST, $680, if you want to call the Game Informer subscription free (and somehow, I don’t think a whole lot of people are sitting by their mailboxes every month, crying “OH WOW! THE NEW GAME INFORMER IS OUT! :D” whenever the object of their desires makes it’s monthly sojorn to their rightful homes). I’ll make an educated guess and figure that shipping and handling is going to run $25, so let’s say the bundle is going to cost $725, altogether. And you have no other choices, if you want to get it at Gamestop; basically, they’re saying that if you didn’t get the system preorder when they did it a while back, you’re shit out of luck, and that’ll teach you, you little shit. Furthermore, some smart shopping makes you realise that the Wii 1.0GB memory card is available, commercially, for $30 just about anywhere else; it’s a standard SD card, used in multiple applications. For that extra $30, you’re paying for nothing more than it saying “SD Card FOR WII!”. The total cost went down to $650, taking that into consideration. Using my educated guess, that means you’re paying $75 more dollars OFF THE TOP. And what’s that? You don’t like Madden? Well, you can TRADE IT IN! Don’t forget that if you trade in three Wii games (at about half price, naturally), we’ll throw in a blow-up doll of Princess Peach! :D
Furthermore, this bundle does not guarantee you anything; it’s nothing more than a place in line. Notice, on the page that I linked above, it specifically says that the preorder is not a guarantee that the system will ship at launch, it’s first come, first serve, and that the contents are subject to change. Worst case (and I realise this is a REALLY bad worst case, and such a PR hit that only a moron would let it happen), Joe Schmo could get his system a month later, and instead of Trauma Centre, he gets Spongebob Squarepants: Creature From the Krusty Krab! I’d hate to be in HIS throwing range….
Oh, and another fun bit: there still is no set time for when this starts; we only know that it’s Thursday in the evening, as stated before. Considering the predicted lack of sufficient demand, I can just imagine some pizza-faced loser in his mother’s basement sitting by his computer, waiting for the notice from Gamestop, as if they were starters at a track meet. “OK, start buying… NOW! *BANG*” Could this be subtile motivation for people to get on Gamestop’s mailing list? After all, right below the information about the bundle, there’s a submission block for email updates…
I’m baffled as to how something like this is accepted. Gamestop isn’t the only place to get a Wii, and many people have stated their intention to get one around launch day from places like Walmart and Circuit City; you would think that gamers are smart enough to do the math, call bullshit and move about their day, right?
Naturally, like everytime I write one of these articles, gamers prove to me, and the companies that do stuff like this, that they are absolute morons who will do anything to look cool in the gamer world, and a launch-day Wii and/or PS3 is basically the equivalent of banging the captain of the cheerleading squad, something I’m sure most of these people will fulfill only in the realms of their hentai games. A quick jaunt to eBay proves this, as systems are going for as high as $535, just for the PREORDER; fully paid for, they’re as high as $710 (and this one’s not even done yet, as of this writing!), with Zelda. Knowing that, I guess it’s only natural that Gamespot feels it should get a cut of the profits; after all, it’s their preorders that are showing up and selling for double the price, if gamers are willing to go the “extra mile”, why not? I swear, if you offered to sell something that a gamer wanted with some extras, he’d let you brand your coporate logo onto his swolen, flabby ass, like a rancher would to a cow.
The main driving force behind all this seems to be fear of the system not being available at launch; for gamers, that loses them MASSIVE geek points, and for parents, it means their kids will hate them forever and ever, lose their belief in Santa, and grow up to be gay just to spite their parents, who ruined them forever. I realise it’s too much to ask for these people to not be so stupid, but I’ll try it again. Hardcore gamers! Not only will the ridicule of not getting the system at launch wear off after awhile, you’ll have a couple hundred more dollars available, which means you can get more games! And parents! If your kids whine and cry, just do what my parents did: we had this wonderful thing back in the day, it was called “spanking”. Whenever I gave my mother shit about Christmas, she beat my ass, and then took what I DID get away! It works! And if your child threatens to call the police, give him the phone, call his bluff, and beat him again! You’d be surprised at how wrong Dr. Phil is sometimes about how to raise your children!
As for the bundle itself? I like Joystiq’s idea: buy everything separately, and send the savings along to Child’s Play. I’ll take the karma points over the geek points any day of the week.
EDIT @ 10:18PM EST: Now, according to Gamespot, Gamestop is now no longer selling Zelda: Twilight Princess as a preorder. That means that the best way, guaranteed, to get TP is to get the bundle, at a massive loss to the consumer.
No report as to whether or not Circuit City and the other stores are selling TP, or how many will be available, but my hope is that gamers are smart enough to see through this bullshit.
My reality will likely show otherwise.