Nintendo Cuts Wii Prices Ahead of New Gaming System Launch

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Nintendo is making a major push to clear out its Wii inventory as it gears up to unveil its successor to the gaming system next month. The company will cut prices on the Wii video game console by 25% to $149.99, and bundle four of its more popular games as a $19.99 set, Nintendo announced Wednesday.

Prices for the new Wii video game console and the four-game set will take effect on May 15.

But before you rush to the store, it may be worth holding out to see what Nintendo (NTDOY) has up its sleeve. The struggling video game titan has taken a tremendous beating since Microsoft released its motion-sensing, controller-free Kinect for its Xbox 360, but Nintendo's next-generation console could be a similar show-stopper.

Still, for those who have been longing for a Wii but found the $199.99 price too high, this would be a good time to snatch up the older technology. Analysts have speculated that Nintendo's next-generation gaming system could be priced in the $200 to $300 price range, but noted that the price tag could be far higher depending on its configuration.

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As part of its Wii fire sale, Nintendo will package The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess; Animal Crossing: City Folk; Mario Super Sluggers; and Wii Sports games as one set for $19.99. That compares to the $108 it would cost to purchase them individually today on The company also plans to swap out its Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort games with the Mario Kart video game and Wii wheel with the purchase of its video game console.

"From the day it launched, Wii has let players of all ages and experience levels have fun with one another," Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America president, said in a statement. "The new suggested retail pricing for both the hardware and select games will help create more of these magical moments for even greater numbers of people."

The Wii, which debuted in 2006, dominated video game console sales through 2008, but sales began to slow in 2009 as Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SNE) started to expand into the casual gaming market that Nintendo had dominated. Previously, those two companies had concentrated their efforts on the hard-core gamer market.

Microsoft began to eat into Nintendo's market by adding such features as WiFi to enable multiplayer online games, and bringing Netflix (NFLX) movies to its Xbox. Meanwhile, Sony introduced its ultra-sleek PlayStation 3 Slim model, which also doubled as a Blu-ray player and high-end DVD device.

Tough choices lay ahead for Nintendo fans as they weigh their hunger for a bargain against their desire for the latest and greatest gaming system.

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