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Nintendo to slice 20% off price of Wii game console to $199 [Updated]

September 23, 2009 | 11:02 am

New Super Mario Bros Comes to the Rescue

New Super Mario Bros. rides to rescue the Wii. Credit: Nintendo.
Facing a double-digit slowdown in sales of its Wii game console, Nintendo announced it will slash the price of the console 20% to $199 on Sunday.

The Japanese company has sold more than 50 million Wiis since launching the device in November 2006, making it the bestselling of the current generation of video game consoles. Indeed, many stores ran out of the console during holiday shopping seasons. But this year, the console is in plentiful supply and U.S. sales are down 21%, according to data from NPD Group.

"The last five months, April through August, tell the story," said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. "Sales are down exactly 50%."

Nintendo also announced it would release New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the company's blockbuster bet, on Nov. 15. To fuel sales, Nintendo plans to reach out to millions of new consumers by holding sampling events where shoppers can try out games on the console.

"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.

Wii Sales 2009 vs 2008

Wii sales have plunged in 2009 versus 2008. Credit: NPD Group.

The price drop is projected to give Nintendo a 40% life in sales in October, said Jesse Divnich, analyst with Electronic Entertainment Design and Research.

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 off its $299 Xbox 360 Elite console, bringing the price tag down to $249.

Let the price war begin.

Updated 7:21 pm: This post has been updated to include Nintendo's confirmation of its price cut, the release date of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a comment from the company.

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.

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