Wii’s SA launch — all the details

Nintendo’s hot-selling Wii console, which was launched at a media function in Johannesburg this afternoon, will be on sale in SA from this weekend at a recommended retail price of R2 899. Games will retail for between R499 and R599.

Core Group director RJ van Spaandonk

Core Group director Rutger-Jan van Spaandonk

The Wii, which has taken the world by storm since its launch in late 2006, has outsold the Xbox 360 from Microsoft and Sony’s PlayStation 3 and is also expected to sell well in SA, despite a price which some punters have described as too high.

Rutger-Jan van Spaandonk, director of Core Group, which has been appointed to distribute the Wii in SA, defends the local pricing, which is at a premium to the prices charged for the system in the US and Europe. He says currency fluctuations, import taxes and the remoteness of SA from the world’s major business centres all contribute to the relatively high price not only of the Wii but of all imported consumer electronics goods sold in the country.

The Xbox 360 Core system is available in SA for slightly less (R2 699) than the Wii, despite the fact that it has more powerful specifications that the Nintendo console. Sony’s PlayStation 3, which has not sold well since its launch in November 2006, retails for R6 499. However, the PS3 is by far the most high-powered of the three competing systems and includes a next-generation Blu-ray disc player for playing high-definition movies.

Van Spaandonk is confident that the Wii will appeal to a broader range of South Africans than both the PS3 and the Xbox 360. He expects it will even find appeal among the elderly. “You’ll see your parents playing this,” he says. “It will still appeal to the hardcore gamer, but suddenly gamers’ wives and girlfriends will want to play with them, with their Wii.”

Where the Wii stands out from its rivals is its wireless controller, which can detect acceleration in three dimensions, making it ideal for playing physical sports games — tennis, golf, baseball — in front of a TV screen. At the launch today, normally sedentary technology journalists were put through their paces.

Above: Finweek’s Ben Kelly (right) takes on Talk Radio 702’s Aki Anastasiou

Five sports games are bundled with the Wii — tennis, golf, boxing, bowling and baseball. The console will be stocked by all major retailers.

4 Responses to “Wii’s SA launch — all the details”  

  1. 1 Lyon

    I find it interesting that the Core Group have also been criticised for their pricing of ipods as well (Local iPod prices disappoint, http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Hardware/1435.html). Also I find it interesting that the 360 core is cheaper and also has to deal with currency fluctuations, and also is sold in the same business centres the wii will be sold in. It seems the Core Group is trying to capitalise on the success of the wii, and therefore introducing it at a ridiculous price point.


    The previous Nintendo distributors (Futronic, I think) who marketed Nintendo’s Gamecube in this country made EXACTLY the same mistake that Core Group is making. They also used terms like “currecy fluctuations” to defend the price of this machine against the PS2 and it proved to be one VERY expensive mistake as the Gamecube died a horrible death in this country, even though it sold incredibly well in the US, UK as well as Japan.

    I will definitely be buying a Wii, but will be importing it from the UK not only out of principle, but because it will actually work out cheaper even with the import duties etc.

    Core Group should stick to ripping of SA consumers by selling overpriced Ipods and should leave the Wii to people who know what they’re doing.
    Ps. Stop marketing Ipods by telling consumers that they can access ITunes, when South African’s clearly don’t have access to this…

  3. 3 Alex Dickerson

    To the above:
    1st: I have a Wii and it was bought by me in England when I went there with my family, it was 180 pounds. The Wii is on at a perfect price here, stop saying the Xbox core is cheaper because in reality its not. It comes with a wired controller, no free gamen and no other accessories required tom play online. To make things clear this is what the wii has to offer”

    -Wii console
    -Wii mote Nunchuck
    -Free Game (which include 5 divisions)
    -Wiiconnect24 (free online play)
    -Hundreds of gaming possibilities with the controll. eg: ever wanted to be Like skywalker with a real lightsaber…
    -Improved graphis from cube,(sure they arnt as good as the other consoles but today gameplay is what its all about!
    -Extremely small sive (Less than a half from the Ps3_
    -Great games: Zelda, Metroid etc (Just imagine the ease of playing a first person shooter…

    Overall the wii is the best thing to happen to SA and I hope people catch on to the Wii “Way”.

  4. 4 Wilkinson

    Is there a specific system for SA for the Wii? What if we import it from
    from another country? Will it not work? Information required.
    Nobody is really sure. Some say something about the pal system? Do
    not understand.

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