Wii U, the next generation of Nintendo's popular Wii
, failed to live up to expectations since its release last year, so the Japanese video game maker is shaving $50 off its gaming console and offering more games to compete with stronger brands like Sony and Microsoft.
From April to June, Nintendo sold a paltry 160,000 units, lower than competitors and even its own Wii, which was first released in 2006, according to the Wall Street Journal.
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As a result, the Japanese manufacturer is reducing the price of the "Deluxe" Wii U game console to $300 from $350 starting Sept. 20. The brand is also expanding its offering of handheld consoles by releasing the 2DS, a videogame device that can play mobile titles but do so without a 3D image, a key selling point of the 3DS device that went on sale about two years ago.
Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, told The Journal that the company realized there was interest in an entry-level product without 3D images.
“From a Nintendo perspective it’s about analyzing the marketplace,” he said.
The 2DS will launch Oct. 12 for $130, nearly 24% lower than the cheapest 3DS, which costs $170.
Microsoft and Sony are releasing new videogame consoles of their own in November
– amid the holiday shopping season -- with flashier visuals, more advanced cameras, and an array of new titles to attract gamers, The Journal reported.
Fils-Aime said the array of video games, at $40 to $60 a pop, should boost sales. Old staples among video game enthusiasts, like “Super Mario Bros.” and “Donkey Kong,” will soon be available. In particular, the highly anticipated “Super Mario 3D World,” a followup to the popular game “Super Mario 3D Land,” is expected to fly off shelves, as the game was widely credited with helping increase sales for the 3DS during the holiday shopping season two years ago.
Like the Wii U, the 3DS failed to meet expectations after its launch, which drove to release more games and to cut the price by as much as 40 percent after just five months on the market. The moves made a difference, Nintendo said, and now the device has sold more than 30 million units. The Japanese company is hoping for similar success as they follow the same path for Wii U.
The global console game market is expected to grow at a pace of 4.2 percent, to $25.98 billion this year; in 2014, sales are expected to rise another 6.4 percent to $27.62 billion, according to The Journal.
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