Sometimes, it’s better to buy obsolesence

The lad turned the big 0-7 this week, and listed among his birthday wishes was a console video game, a Wii system in particular. The wife and I were deciding on timing – after all, there has been a great deal of speculation about plummeting sales for Wii manufacturer Nintendo, and about the next generation of the system being launched during the next few months. The question, then, was whether to buy a game that will be obsolete by Easter Sunday, or wait until the new system is released so that our system might be supported for at least a couple of years.

We decided to get the current Wii version, for several reasons:

  • With the new system on the way, demand for the current Wii has practically disappeared – and current prices reflect that, with new units retailing at about 2/3 of last year’s sticker price. We were able to buy the system and a couple of games (including a monster truck racing game with steering wheel controller) for what we would have spent on just the console itself a few months ago.
  • Practically speaking, the kid is 7 years old. Not a ton of hand-eye coordination yet and, for all we know, his interest may migrate away from console gaming to something else pretty quickly (like it did for the Carrerra slot car racing track he had to have for Christmas – anybody know someone who needs a track like that?). There’s no point in spending more for the new system until we know that he’ll stay interested.
  • We were also concerned about the prices of some of the games – current Wii titles retail for $40 to $50, which is a rather pricey experiment to see if the lad will like a particular game, and prices for used games aren’t much better. After the new Wii system is launched, though, we can expect many titles from the old system to quickly land in bargain bins.
  • Lastly, the lad doesn’t know any different; many of his friends have the current system, so he thinks it’s great. We can always upgrade if we think it’s worth the investment.

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