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Nintendo: We still sell the Wii U at a loss

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(Credit: Nintendo)

The company has been selling the Wii U at a loss for months, which might be why it won't cut the console's price.

By Don Reisinger, CNET

Despite increasing pressure to improve sales and boost its financial performance, Nintendo might prove unwilling to cut the price on its Wii U anytime soon.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz in an interview published Wednesday, a Nintendo representative confirmed that the company continues to sell its latest console at a loss. Nintendo didn't say exactly how much it's losing on each unit sold, but the company has been one of the few firms historically to profit on new console launches each generation. The Wii U, however, stands in stark contrast to that.

The console, which launched with two versions -- a Basic set for $300 and a Deluxe set for $350 -- has been collecting dust on store shelves over the last several months. Nintendo announced last week that it sold just 160,000 Wii U units worldwide during the previous quarter. Those poor sales figures prompted increasing calls for the company to cut the price on its Wii U.

Of course, that's nothing new for Nintendo. After the console posted a tough fourth quarter of 2012, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata was asked about calls for a price cut in an interview with the Associated Press. At that time, he seemed convinced that price wasn't an issue, telling the AP that "we are already offering [the Wii U] at a good price."

Nintendo seems committed to that line of thinking. In its quarterly filing last week, the company blamed the Wii U's disappointing sales on "the release of few key first-party titles," as well as its poor job at "communicating the compelling nature of our hardware and software."

Still, a price cut might be just what Nintendo needs to boost the Wii U's popularity. The console will soon face off against the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4. And although those consoles will be more expensive than the Wii U, they also promise better graphical performance and enhanced online services. In order for the Wii U to stand out, it might just need to distance itself on the pricing front.

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