The Wii may be less cash than either of the other systems, but let's take a closer look at what may in fact happen at Christmas this year. We've got a system debuting for $599.99, and one that is already out at the price of $299.99 and $399.99. Since Microsoft can rely on awesome software rather than dealing with a hardware launch, it has the upper hand right now. If fact, if Nintendo was in this position we'd be seeing a price drop to combat the new systems. Microsoft isn't stupid. I personally expect a drop of up to $100 ($50 is more likely, but Microsoft will be going for a TKO at Christmas) for each bundle starting mid-November. If I'm right (and I'll put money on this at this point), that would put the numbers in a far more interesting set-up should Nintendo launch at $249.99:
Xbox 360 Standard Pack: Drops to $199.99 ($100 drop)
Xbox 260 Premium Pack: Drops to $299.99 ($100 drop)
Nintendo Wii: Launch at $249.99
Sony PS3 small HD: $499.99
Sony PS3 big HD: $599.99
All of a sudden, there's a huge issue. Nintendo launches at $249.99, but Microsoft drops their cheaper bundle at a price that's LOWER than the mainstream system Nintendo is pushing. All of a sudden, Wii isn't the mainstream system in terms of pricing. With the strategy it is pushing, Nintendo should NEVER sell a system at a higher price than either Microsoft or PS3. If it does, it is simply a technically weaker system with a different controller and no HD support.
Nintendo won't win this battle by simply being different. It has to be a combination of innovation, broad scale marketing and amazingly competitive price points.
$249.99 can't happen.