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Nintendo cuts Wii price as Wii U launch looms

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Meet your new Wii bundle (Credit: Nintendo)

With the launch of the Wii U just over a month away, Nintendo has cut the price of the Wii console.

Effective immediately, the Wii price is cut from $150 to $130, with new bundles including copies of both Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. The company says the bundles are shipping now and it expects them to be widely available by Oct. 28.

The move wasn't exactly a surprise, given the mid-November launch of the next-generation Wii U. In fact, the biggest shocker was the decision to cut it just $20 instead of $50.

Nintendo, though, plans to keep the Wii on store shelves for a while after the launch of the Wii U, much like Sony did with the original PlayStation after the launch of the PS2. The price cut offers a bargain option for consumers on a tight budget and helps build brand loyalty on their part, a loyalty Nintendo hopes to leverage into Wii U sales further down the road. It also leaves the door open for further cuts to keep the system selling in the future.

"Nearly six years after it launched, people are still attracted to the pure, inclusive fun of the Wii console," said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales & marketing.

The new two-game bundle will replace the New Super Mario Bros Wii bundle that's on store shelves now.

While Nintendo is the only company that's officially cutting the price of its console, several retailers are knocking $50 off the price of the Xbox 360 as well.

GameStop has shaved $50 off all versions of the Xbox 360, bringing the entry-level 4GB version to $150. Other retailers, including Best Buy, Target and Amazon, have cut $50 off the 4GB version that's bundled with Kinect, bringing that to $250. (Most of those Xbox/Kinect offerings also have a game or two bundled in as we well.)

Microsoft hasn't made any announcements about a formal price reduction, but is likely green-lighting these retail efforts in order to stay competitive with the Wii U this holiday season — and to keep its 21-month streak as the best-selling console alive.

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