Microsoft is no longer the only console maker with a sub-$200 console this generation. During Tokyo Game Show this week, Kyoto-based Nintendo's North American arm said it would be dropping the price of its motion-sensing Nintendo Wii to $199, down from $249.
It's the first time since the console's November 2006 launch that Nintendo has cut the price of the Wii. Rivals Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 have issued multiple price cuts for their consoles since launching in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
The Wii's price cut is effective on September 27 in North America, Nintendo said. The Wii's packaging will still include a Wii Remote, a nunchuck attachment, and the original Wii Sports.
In addition, there will be an October 1 Japanese price cut for the Wii from 25,000 yen ($275) to 20,000 yen ($220). However, it seems there will be no RRP-based price cut for the European market.
The move follow's Sony's price cut of the PS3 from $399 to $299, a reduction that triggered a 300 percent increase in unit sales in North America, Sony said. Microsoft followed suit by reducing the price of its top-line Xbox 360 Elite from $399 to $299. Microsoft also sells the hard drive-less Xbox 360 Arcade for $199.
"Wii has reached more video game 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.
She added, "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."
Nintendo also said that New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be hitting shelves on November 15 in the U.S., while Wii Fit Plus will arrive on October 4.
To date, the Wii has shipped over 50 million units worldwide, leading the hardware race in unit sales.
[UPDATE: Biz site IndustryGamers received official word from Nintendo UK on the Wii pricing plan: "We will be reducing the trade price of Wii to retailers from 2nd October 2009. In the UK and Republic of Ireland we are also introducing a new configuration of Wii hardware from 2nd October 2009 which will replace the current offering and will include the Wii console and Wii Sports with the new Wii Sports Resort game and Wii MotionPlus accessory."
The statement continued, "This will be available to retailers at the newly reduced trade price. The ultimate price to consumers is, of course, determined by the retailers. Our aim has always been to expand the gaming population and there are still many more people out there who have not yet experienced the fun of video games. This compelling offer will hopefully make Wii more accessible to everyone."]