The Nintendo Wii will officially be 25% cheaper, come May 15th.
It has been rumored for about a month that this price cut was coming, and today Nintendo has confirmed it. The current Wii bundle available in stores costs $199.99 and includes copies of Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. The new bundle will cost $149.99, be available in either white of black and include Mario Kart with a steering wheel. Some stores, such as Best Buy have already begun selling the old bundles for $170. They will be discontinued.
While still selling plenty of consoles, Nintendo has seen the Wii decline as of late. The console sold over 10 million units in 2008, followed by 9 million in 2009. 2010 saw only 7 million Wii sold.
Last month, Nintendo confirmed their next generation console will launch sometime in 2012, but will demo at this year’s E3 gaming expo in June. The new system, referred to as the “Wii 2” or even “Project Cafe” by insiders, is rumored to be a giant leap for Nintendo.
Some rumors have the new device as capable of full 1080p HD, fixing the problem of graphical inferiority which turned many hardcore gamers away from the original Wii. It is also said that it will greatly increase performance. Some other rumors involve a new controller that could possibly have a DS-like touch screen built right in. Catch a full rumor roundup here.
But Nintendo isn’t giving up on the Wii, in light of the exciting buzz surrounding “project cafe.” The price cut is meant to spur sales of the Wii, especially for families and new gamers.
“There is quite a bit more volume to be sold on the Wii home console,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime to USA Today. “And the way we are going to get there is by offering the system at this low price and by including a key software title like Mario Kart.”
“From our perspective, there are literally millions of consumers getting into the video-game-playing age,” Fils-Aime said. “And there’s no better system for those entry consumers than the Wii.”
The two big Wii competitors, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3, have had their news follow different trajectories as of late. Last week, Microsoft reported strong Q3 earnings, thanks in large part to the Xbox and Kinect. Their gaming division grew 60% year-over-year, a staggering figure.
Sony has seen better days, as the PlayStation Network outage continues and yesterday they reported that the hack that shut it down also compromised credit info for users of their PC gaming division, Sony Online Entertainment.