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Wii price drop confirmed by Nintendo. Is it too late?

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Earlier this week, we reported on rumors that Nintendo would slash the price of its best-selling Wii console by $50, bringing the total console price to just under 200 bucks. In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Nintendo confirmed the drop, and said the new price tag would make the top-selling system "even more appealing."

Although the Wii still regularly bests sales figures from rival Sony and Microsoft consoles, the summer was not kind to Nintendo. According to the tracking firm NPD, Nintendo sold 277,000 Wii units in August – a 39 percent decline over the same time last year. By comparison, Microsoft sold 215,000 Xbox360 consoles in August, which marks a 10 percent increase over the previous year.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Sony both dropped prices on their flagship consoles, making a mirror move by Nintendo all but inevitable. (The PS3 and the Xbox360 Elite now both cost $299; the regular Xbox comes in at $199.)

Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing, wrote in yesterday's statement that the Wii price drop could bring in a fresh swath of casual gamers:

Wii has reached more video game players than any game system before because it attracts everyone—both men and women, and people of all ages. Our research shows there are 50 million Americans thinking about becoming gamers, and this more affordable price point and our vast array of new software mean many of them can now make the leap and find experiences that appeal to them, whatever their tastes or level of gaming experience.

Well, yes. Maybe. But count us as somewhat skeptical. After all, the Wii has been on the market since 2006, and has sold briskly for three years. That's a whole lot of consoles in a whole lot of homes. Are there really millions more consumers who have been waiting this long for a 50 buck price cut?


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