I never really thought of it but I think you might be right. The $50 gets you a ton of more stuff, and people might be seeing the free game, and thinking it's the better value. I only really care about the extra HD Space and the cradle charger for the Wii-U gamepad, but if I really had to get an 8GB model, I would. I mean Nintendoland is fucking worthless to me . Gamestop will probably only give you 25 cents for it anyway because it's a pack in game.
I do want Nintendoland (as a "here is what the Wii U can do" demonstration for people who come over, plus I am a sucker for Nintendo characters) but the $60 stand-alone price would have really stung.
That's honestly why I believe what I do - if the white was $250 and the deluxe $350 it would have made more sense, but seriously - the dollar value of the deluxe makes it a no-brainer for most besides the really casual. Although some Nintendo sites are saying that the white is directed to "hardcore" because it does not include Nintendoland, I think that it's the opposite because of all it's got : first, it's not white, which I think most people prefer, and second, the 4x amount of memory needs that even if you plan to be a big downloader you won't need an external HD right away.
On top of that, you get a game that will retail for $60, a set of stands that Nintendo is selling separately for $20, plus whatever discounts/etc. the deluxe membership thing has. So that's $80+ of value of things a lot of us want anyway - so on top of the color, and the 4x memory - I can't see even many casual people seeing the list of stuff and not thinking they might as well spend the $50 if they can.
So it's a way for Nintendo to get all the press of being rare and hard to get, but on the other hand not the bad press they got when it took a year for them to actually be regularly on the store shelves. They really PO'd a lot of people last time - I know quite a few families who's last console was the NES or SNES that wanted them, but not having an easy way to get one for so long they pretty much lost interest.
As much as I'd like to think you're right, the publicity around all this, regardless of the color/version of the console, has and will drive people into a feeding frenzy of 'I want one' or 'I want to profit off them'. For the first month or so up and up until after Christmas, trying to find a Wii U Deluxe or Basic is going to be difficult to say the least.
The resale market is fluctuating by hundreds of dollars every day because no one knows what the demand for them is yet and most are not desperate enough to pay much than retail for them at the moment. The market testing time will be the two weeks leading up to and after the release date. That's when the hype will peak and every parent/Johnny come lately will be trying to get one for Christmas or trying to profit off it.
Sure, the resale market is surely in flux because of that. And we really won't know how "rare" the Deluxe will be until after release day and what people will really pay for it up to Xmas. But many stores still have white preorders - both my local Best Buy and Toys R Us are taking pre-orders for the white even now. So either they are making a lot more of them, or there is far more demand for the black. I do feel bad for people who get "stuck" with a white and do not want one - I can't imagine many people who are already paying $300 who don't see the value there for $350. But if someone has "gotta have it" - then the white will do instead of no console at all.
I think Nintendo has already showed an unprecedented control over the retailers/pre-orders so far. I mean, there is really little chance that all US stores practically ended online preorders of the Deluxe on the same day, and that in-store deluxe pre-orders pretty much went down the next day, in all areas of the country. It was a coordinated effort. I won't be surprised at all if we eventually see some leaked documents or other material indicating this was planned by Nintendo this way, at which time I think they will deserve a
for well played.
Here is how I think it will go down: between now and launch day, I think there will be a few more spurts here and there of open pre-orders, mostly for the white version. They appeased the "hard core" fans with three days of relatively painless pre-ordering - online, in store, whatever, you had several days where stuff was open, not "sold out in three minutes, I couldn't even logon". And in-store pre-orders were crazy easy to get, at least at Best Buy - print a coupon out of a machine, walk up and pay $5. Come back launch day. Similar at Toys R Us with $20 deposit (I'm still shocked Best Buy was still only $5).
At launch day, I think there will be 0 deluxes available for anything but pre-orders, and there will be small quantities of white ones. I see the line at Best Buy being - stand here for pre-orders, and everyone else gets to stand in line for a ticket to get one of the white models they have for first-come-first-serve. And I'm willing to bet (at least at midnight/opening morning, what have you depending on the retailer) they will also have limited preorder slots to get a deluxe by Xmas so parents who show up thinking they will be getting an Xmas present for their kids and finding out you had to preorder can drop the coin.
Then, likely staggering here and there pre-orders at various retailers up until Xmas, with several shipments, almost all white (I won't guess at an exact ratio, but I bet it will be at least 2:1). Nintendo has been so coordinated with this round, I bet they will also rotate retailers and time periods so everyone gets a shot (they seem to be trying very hard to please them to make it easier on us - but still drive up publicity and demands).
The problem with the Wii launch was that you literally had to spend hours researching the web and making calls to find the damn thing. I remember I finally got mine from reading a message board where a best buy employee was giving a heads up about their 2nd shipment, and which stores would have them. I was there at 4am driving around, though I didn't actually get out of the car until 8am for a 10am opening. They gave out tickets at 9 - and we all left (I went to breakfast LOL). At 10am, we just waited in our warm cars for it to open as we had tickets, while by then the people that got the Sunday paper and found out about it had lined up 30 min or so early. They were irritated when we walked right past them, there were 0 left. I remember this one dad who thought they were "first" in line was so excited and then really upset that they were already gone. I very clearly can still hear him saying (and I understood his frustration), "When do you give out tickets? How do you find out if you don't open till 10?" because they had come outside at 9 when the newspaper ad specified they would have a certain amount in stock "at opening" which was 10.
That pissed a lot of people off, and I think Nintendo wants to avoid that again. But they also have a worldwide launch and don't want them to just be sitting on the shelf as PS3's did*. I think everyone who wants a Wii U can get one by Xmas (at least the white one) unless you run out on Dec 24th and expect to score one, and I think Nintendo is going to rely on software to pull them through the rest of year one, instead of story after story just being about how hard to get it is - I think it will focus on how good it is once you've gotten it. They really seemed to learn from the mistakes of the Wii.
*On the PS3 debate - by Xmas they were sitting on shelves, at least in my area. Before I got my Wii, I waited in about a half dozen "outside of stores trying to get one" lines, and there were always scores of people for a Wii, and like 2-3 for a PS, and they usually got 5 or 6 so when all the Wii's were out the door, there were still a couple of PS3's anyone could have walked up and gotten. After the 2nd and 3rd shipments started coming in, they were literally sitting on the shelves for days at a time - I remember going to one store several days in a row (looking for Wii Remotes - my gosh, everyone remember that even they were hard to come by at the beginning?) and seeing the same box of one (it had a little dent so I recognized it each time) sitting for three mornings in a row. People forget these were $500-600, plus Blu-ray still hadn't won the war yet, so it was less of a draw to people on the fence on spending that much at the time. It rebounded - but the launch didn't have nearly the demand at those prices as the Wii did at the same time.