April 9, 2009

Nintendo Wii Sales Slow, But No Price Cut In Sight

Sales of the Nintendo Wii video game console have dropped in Japan as the economic crisis continues to throttle the video game industry, the AFP reported.

But despite weathering its toughest time yet in the competitive Japanese market, Nintendo said it does not plan to cut the Wii's price.

Nintendo Co. president Satoru Iwata said the Wii is in the unhealthiest condition since it hit the Japanese market.

"The current condition in the Japanese market is not the one we want," he added.

He said that since Nintendo is already the market leader, a price war with rivals was not the answer the company was looking for.

Iwata said during a news conference: "A price cut in a difficult economy cannot really excite the market and drive up sales. As of now I really don't think that a price cut is a good option for us."

However, he said he wasn't ruling out a price cut in the longer run, but said none were in the works in the immediate future.

With sales of the Nintendo console dropping almost two-thirds from a year earlier, industry figures released this week showed that the rival Sony PlayStation 3 had outsold the Wii in Japan for the first time in 16 months.

Publishing firm Enterbrain Inc said that Japanese sales of the PS3 surged 80 percent in the five weeks to March 29 from a year earlier to 146,948 consoles, while demand for the Wii plunged almost 63 percent to 99,335.

The Wii had flown off the shelves after its launch in 2006 thanks to the popularity of a few games, Iwata said. But while demand is currently slowing, Nintendo has sold more than eight million Wii machines in Japan.

Iwata noted that the speed with which people get tired of any new entertainment is faster in Japan than in overseas markets.

Rather than dropping the price on the console, Nintendo is ushering in new games and software such as Wii Sports Resort"”a sequel to the popular Wii Sports that will go on sale in Japan in June.

The family-friendly Wii has enjoyed immense worldwide success with people who are not often interested in video games.

Nintendo developed a cheaper, easy-to-use console that would appeal to a wider audience as opposed to the Sony PlayStation 3, which put the emphasis on chip power and ultra-realistic graphics.

The Nintendo Wii has been very profitable for the company and has even set industry records with more than 10 million Wii machines sold in the United States in 2008.


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