Nintendo has officially announced plans to cut the price of the Wii in the US and Japan for the first time since the console launched almost three years ago.
Beginning on Sunday, September 27, the suggested retail price of the Wii will drop by $50 to $199.99 in the US, the company said in a statement. On October 1, the Japanese price of the system will also be cut by 20 per cent to 20,000 yen, according to reports. A similar price reduction has yet to be announced for Europe.
“Wii has reached more videogame players than any game system before because it attracts everyone – both men and women, and people of all ages,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.
“Our research shows there are 50 million Americans thinking about becoming gamers, and this more affordable price point and our vast array of new software mean many of them can now make the leap and find experiences that appeal to them, whatever their tastes or level of gaming experience.”
The Wii debuted in the US in November 2006 and in Japan and across Europe the following month. It has since gone on to become the market leading home console this generation, comfortably outpacing Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PS3 with over 50 million unit sales worldwide.
However, a drop in Wii sales during the current fiscal year has been reflected in profit and revenue declines for the platform holder. While Nintendo had claimed that it would combat the slowdown by introducing strong new software rather than by reducing the cost of its hardware, a Wii price cut during 2009 had been heavily tipped for some time.
The Wii price drop came to be viewed as a near certainty in recent weeks following mounting evidence from retailers, and its confirmation increases the chances of Nintendo meeting its fiscal year sales target of 26 million units.