WASHINGTON - Nintendo Co. announced Wednesday that it is cutting the price of its Wii U video-game system as it braces for the fall release of competing consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
Nintendo will reduce the price of the Wii U deluxe set from $349.99 to $299.99, effective September 20. The company will also release a Wii U bundle featuring "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD," a remake of the 2003 game, that will also be available September 20 for $299.99.
The Wii U has struggled to find an audience. Nintendo sold 3.61 million of the consoles between the Wii U's launch last November and the end of June. The company aims to sell 9 million Wii U units over the fiscal year through March 2014.
Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said in an interview that consumers who have bought the Wii U "love the system" but want more software. Nintendo's game releases for the rest of 2013 include "Super Mario 3D World," "Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze," "Wii Party U" and "Wii Fit U."
"As long as we create high-quality software we will be able to drive our business," Fils-Aime said. Regarding the price cut, he said: "Now is the right time to offer better value. This sets us up for a strong holiday season."
Sony's new console, the PlayStation 4, is due November 15 with a $399 price tag. Microsoft has not announced an exact launch date for its new Xbox One, which will cost $499.
Nintendo also announced a new handheld gaming device that will join its successful DS line. The Nintendo 2DS, coming Oct. 12 for $129.99, will play all DS and 3DS games - although it will not display the latter games' three-dimensional graphics. Like Nintendo's DS models, the 2DS has two screens; unlike them, it does not fold up. Fils-Aime said the 2DS is intended to appeal to "the entry-level consumer looking for lower-priced access to a fantastic library."