Nintendo Slashes Wii Hardware Price in Anticipation of New Console

Courtesy of Nintendo

Beginning May 15, Nintendo’s Wii game console will be available for just $150 in a new bundle that includes the 10-million unit selling Mario Kart Wii game, a Wii Remote Plus, Nunchuk, and steering wheel controller.

Retailers already slashed prices on the $200 Wii bundle, which includes popular games Wii Sports Resort and Wii Sports, to $170 two weeks ago. That system will be discontinued once supply runs out.

 These moves are part of a strategy by Nintendo to spur sales of its hardware this summer, while the company builds up anticipation for its Wii successor. Nintendo will unveil its new game console, currently code-named Project Café, at E3 2011 in Los Angeles the week of June 5th. Details of Nintendo’s first high definition gaming device will be revealed at Nintendo’s annual E3 press conference. The new console won’t hit stores until the second quarter of 2012, at the earliest.

“From the day it launched, Wii has let players of all ages and experience levels have fun with one another,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “The new suggested retail pricing for both the hardware and select games will help create more of these magical moments for even greater numbers of people.”

Nintendo has sold over 86 million Wiis since the console introduced motion controls to the world in 2006. Although it’s currently the number one game console, Wii sales have slowed recently. Nintendo only sold 15 million units this past fiscal year, 5 million less than its previous fiscal year. And those numbers dragged company revenues down 29% to $12.3 billion.

Nintendo has faced stronger competition from Sony and Microsoft since last year, as each company launched its own motion controlled peripherals, PlayStation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360, to target the mainstream gaming demographic. With the price drop, Nintendo expects to sell 13 million Wiis this fiscal year.

 On May 15, Nintendo will also introduce a new line-up of Nintendo Selects Wii games that will retail for $20 each. The first wave of games includes The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Mario Super Sluggers, and Wii Sports.