As Xbox One and PlayStation 4 Approach, Nintendo Gives Wii U a Price Cut
(NEW YORK) -- This holiday season the gaming console war will be reignited as the new Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 hit shelves. But Nintendo doesn't want to be forgotten. The company announced Wednesday that it will be dropping the price of its Wii U gaming system, which was released last November, by $50.
Starting on Sept. 20, the Wii U Deluxe -- originally $349.99 -- will cost $299.99. That will make the Wii U the most affordable console on shelves this holiday; the Xbox One starts at $500 and the PlayStation 4 at $400.
Nintendo also introduced the $129.99 Nintendo 2DS, an entry-level version of the portable 3DS gaming device, which instead of a clamshell form-factor has a tablet-like design. It will be out on Oct. 12.
The price drop on the Wii U doesn't only come at the threat of the competition. It is also due to lackluster sales of the console. As of the end of June, Nintendo had shipped only 3.6 million units. Sony recently said that it has already seen more than a million pre-orders for its PlayStation 4.
While many were excited for the Wii U's improved graphics and tablet-like GamePad controller, the system seemed overpriced and didn't capture the attention of the hardcore gaming community. Industry experts said the price drop might help, but likely won't be enough to thwart the new shiny systems on the horizon and make the Wii U a hit like the original Wii released in 2006.
"The Wii U has been the anti-Wii," Ross Rubin, a principal analyst at Rectile Research, told ABC News. "While the Wii was inexpensive and intuitive, the Wii U has been priced closer to the entry price of its competitors -- particularly Sony -- and the second screen has been poorly supported and awkward when it is."
The PlayStation 4, which will be out on Nov. 15, has even more powerful graphics, with an eight-core x86 processor, 8GB of RAM and a new controller. Microsoft's Xbox One has similar graphics and gaming capabilities, but added multimedia and video features, including voice and motion control.
Ultimately, it's those brand-new features that are making the Wii U look not as desirable right now. Rubin said, "Price drops inevitably help, but it doesn't appear as if it will be enough of a delta to slow down the impact of the powerhouse systems arriving in the next few months."
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