EA says Wii to be $170?

UK-based trade site says VP of publisher's Worldwide Studios expects North American Wii to go for under $200.

Source: A teaser story on GamesIndustry.biz promoting an exclusive interview with David Gardner, executive vice president and COO of Electronic Arts' Worldwide Studios. What we heard: This morning, industry trade site GamesIndustry.biz ran a story with the headline, "Wii will retail for around $170 - EA." According to the story, Gardner said the world's largest third-party publisher believes that Nintendo's console will arrive in North American shelves sporting a price tag of $170.

Combined with reports out of Japan last week that the console would launch for about $170 over there, the EA news could be taken as further evidence that Nintendo had settled on a price point for its next console. Having two such sources coming out with the same figure mere weeks before Nintendo is expected to make its official announcement would lend credibility to the idea that the Wii would hit shelves for less than half the price of a premium Xbox 360, and less than a third the price of the high-end PlayStation 3 package.

However, a few things didn't quite fit. The GamesIndustry.biz article says that EA is expecting a $170 price tag in North America. But the only quote it gives to back that up has Gardner saying "I've heard in Japan that the price is about $170..." There might be some context missing there, or perhaps it was taken to mean that Gardner heard while he was in Japan that the North American price would be $170. Regardless, it isn't clear where the $170 figure for North America came from. On top of that, Gardner doesn't say from where he heard the information. It could be Nintendo, or analysts' expectations, retail partners, or ranting derelicts on the street corner.

Put those ambiguities together, and it's entirely possible that Gardner was not referencing information he heard as a result of his position within EA, but instead referencing the original Japanese reports that had the Internet buzzing last week.

The official story: A quick e-mail to Gardner confirmed suspicions. "It was indeed the Japanese report," Gardner told GameSpot. "I read it on the Web--just passing the same rumor around...In any case, I hope it becomes true!"

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

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