The lights are on
This year's Black Friday should be as intense as ever as shoppers take advantage of money-saving deals. With Nintendo's Wii U system, console/software bundles of every flavor, and major titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops II out, Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst for Baird Research, takes a look at what the industry can expect from this Black Friday.
The most interesting thing to watch on today will be how the Wii U does. Of course, like other Nintendo home consoles, the system is not expected to have a lot of units on shelves because of initial production constraints. Before Black Friday, Sebastian said that the launch went as expected, with stores either sold out of the Wii U or at low inventory levels. However, he notes that so far there isn't the "buying frenzy" that we saw with the original Wii. Perhaps the Wii U's higher price point and less casual focus could be the reason for this.
"It's going to be hard to gauge at this point what consumer adoption is going to be," he tells us regarding the Wii U. Still, he said that smart retailers will have demo units out to let people try the system and perhaps arrange for a rain check if there aren't units on hand. Having a demo unit will also get people in the door and perhaps lead them to buying something else entirely.
Speaking of which, even if you don't pick up a Wii U today, all the console manufacturers have a variety of console/hardware bundles available to get you to buy their systems at a relatively attractive price. While Sebastian says the bundles are necessary to sell the consoles this late in their life cycle, "to really energize the console market, you need to see real price cuts – and that's likely to happen now before this holiday," he says. Of course, the fact that the original Wii is selling for $129 in a bundle definitely helps Nintendo, and Sebastian says Microsoft and Sony should hit this kind of "deep value" price point to accordingly reap the benefits.
As for software, Sebastian says there are absolutely no surprises here – Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Halo 4 (above), and Assassin's Creed III are expected to do big numbers and create "not a great holiday, but a decent holiday" for the industry. All in all, this mirrors what Sebastian expects on the whole. "I don't think you're going to see any big surprises on this Black Friday."
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