Wii price cut gets 'strong' response - Fils-Aime

Nintendo of America president says $50 reduction has spurred sales of best-selling console in lead-up to holiday season.

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The Wii has dominated the console gaming market since it launched in November 2006, topping 52 million units globally as of Nintendo's last accounting. However, with the global economic slump weighing heavily on the game industry, not to mention increasing price competition from Microsoft and Sony's systems, sales of the Wii have seen a marked drop off, falling to just 277,000 units in the US during August.

The Wii's never had a problem shifting units.
The Wii's never had a problem shifting units.

To revitalize those figures as the industry gears up for the lucrative holiday season, Nintendo announced during the Tokyo Game Show that it would trim the Wii's price by $50, the first price cut since the console entered the market priced at $249 three years ago. And according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, the Wii is already seeing a significant sales bump since the price cut went into effect in late September.

"The consumer response has been very strong to the price reduction," Fils-Aime told the Financial Times. Fils-Aime declined to offer a specific unit sales figure following the price cut, saying that it was still too early to release that information. The publisher is expected to announce its second-quarter earnings for the July-September period later this month.

Fils-Aime went on to echo many of the sentiments that Nintendo of America vice president of corporate affairs Denise Kaigler expressed to GameSpot shortly following the price-cut announcement. Fils-Aime noted that this year's Wii software lineup is back-loaded, with titles such as Wii Fit Plus, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Wii Sports Resort expected to drive sales during the holiday period.

"There are literally millions of consumers out there who want a Wii and had been on the sidelines," Fils-Aime said. "They'd been waiting for that little nudge to go out and pick it up--the price decline, the sampling, the launching of key software like Wii Fit Plus--we believe it's what's pushing them over the edge to get into the category."

The executive noted that Nintendo believes there are still some 50 million US consumers who are interested in purchasing a gaming console but have not yet taken the plunge. That number stands at 150 million worldwide, he said.

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