Part of why the Wii sold so well was because of its $250 price point, a huge draw to consumers who couldn’t afford to buy a PlayStation 3 or an Xbox 360 at the time. That’s why some were taken aback by the Wii U’s $350 starting price.
In an interview with TIME, Shigeru Miyamoto talks about that price point and how the GamePad pushes the Wii U’s price to where it stands now:
Unfortunately, I’m not the one who determined the price, so I can’t provide a specific answer on the price of the system. But the one thing that I think everyone needs to understand is that when you’re buying a Wii U, you’re buying a hardware system that comes with a tablet-like device and so if any of the other hardware systems were to try and include a tablet or device similar to the Wii U GamePad, those hardware systems would go up in price by easily a hundred dollars or more.
In addition, Miyamoto provided interesting introspective in regards to having a more powerful hardware system. In short, Miyamoto believes that, with the extra horsepower, developers should find ways to “focus on creating unique games.” If developers do not do this, then it becomes a “competition about the power of the hardware rather than the uniqueness of the experience.
You can read the entirety of the interview here.