No Wii For The Kids: Hidden Costs Compel Console Return

It could have happened to any man with any console. But for Chris O'Brien, newspaper columnist, it happened with the Wii. The father of two bought his kids a Wii for Christmas, but returned it. Too many hidden costs.

The San Jose Mercury News columnist recently explained the sticker shock that had him returning his $199 Wii and all the stuff he felt he had to buy along with it.

Hmmm. One controller + two kids = eye-gouging fights Christmas morning. I knew I needed another one, which cost $49.

Then I began looking for a couple of games to go with it. I knew we'd be paying a bit more for these. But as I looked at some games we wanted, like "Lego Rock Band," I realized that I needed other controllers, like a microphone, drums or guitar. These could run another $100 or more if I got all of them. So I passed and didn't get any games, figuring they could just play the games that came with it for now.

As I examined the box, I realized that I had forgotten that the Wii could also be connected to the Web. The problem here was that our cable modem is in the kitchen (don't ask) and the TV is in the living room. Guess that's a headache I'd have to figure out later.

As I was finally checking out, the cashier asked if I wanted any batteries. "Batteries? For what?" I wondered. She explained that the controllers ran on batteries. Gulp. I grabbed a package of rechargeable batteries, for about $30.

Having spent about $90 more than I expected, I had a few knots in my stomach on the way home and was kicking myself for not doing my research. Bad columnist. Bad.


He talked to his wife about it and returned everything.

If you want to know how O'Brien's Wii-less Christmas went, read the rest of his column. Gaming consoles may be dropping in price, but they never are as "cheap" as the price tag says, no?

O'Brien: Why we didn't get a Wii [San Jose Mercury News]

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