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Nintendo to cut price on Wii to $200

The game console maker hopes to drive holiday sales with the 20% reduction, which comes after Sony trims the price on its PlayStation 3 and Microsoft issues a rebate on its Xbox 360 Elite.

September 24, 2009|Alex Pham

Let the price war on video game consoles begin.

Weeks after Sony Corp. trimmed the price of its PlayStation 3 console and Microsoft Corp. issued a $50 rebate for its Xbox 360 Elite system, Nintendo Co. said Wednesday night that it would slash the price of its Wii console 20% to $200, starting Sunday.

To fuel sales, Nintendo plans to reach out to millions of prospective Wii users by holding sampling events where shoppers can try out games on the console.

The Japanese game company also said it would release the New Super Mario Bros. Wii game, its blockbuster bet for the holidays, on Nov. 15.

"Combined with the value pricing, a new blockbuster release right before Thanksgiving and the opportunity for consumers to see for themselves, we will drive holiday sales to new heights," said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo's U.S. business.

Nintendo has sold more than 50 million Wiis since launching the device in November 2006, making it the biggest seller of the current generation of game consoles.

This year, however, the company has lost momentum, with U.S. sales down 21%, according to research firm NPD.

"But the last five months, April through August, tell the story," said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities.

"Sales are down exactly 50%."

Sony in August slashed $100 off the price of its PlayStation 3 console to as low as $299. Microsoft countered by offering a temporary $50 rebate on its $299 Xbox 360 Elite console, making the price $249 after the rebate.

Jesse Divnich, director of analytical services at industry data tracker Electronic Entertainment Design & Research, predicted that Nintendo's price cut would boost Wii sales 40% in October.

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alex.pham@latimes.com

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