NEW YORK (AP) — Nintendo on Sunday will cut the price of its popular Wii console by $50, in a bid to broaden its appeal among potential new customers as it prepares to release the Wii Fit-Plus and New Super Mario Bros. games.
The Wii, whose game controller senses motions without having to rely solely on buttons and levers, is the top-selling console worldwide. The new $199.99 Wii will include the Wii Remote controller, Nunchuk controller and Wii Sports software.
"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," said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales & marketing, in a statement late Wednesday.
Speculation about a price cut had grown after the other two console makers, Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp., reduced prices on their systems in August. And video game blog Kotaku has posted what it said were images of flyers from major retailers advertising a coming price cut.
Console price cuts are customary for the video game industry after the systems have celebrated a birthday or two, because they help lure in mass audiences who don't want to spend large chunks of cash on them.
The recession, however, has made them even more important, especially as game companies gear up for the holiday shopping season, when the video game industry makes most of its money. Without the price cuts, it would be difficult to entice budget-conscious shoppers to buy the machines.