Nintendo releasing new handheld game device, cheaper Wii U for holidays

People ride an escalator past Nintendo Co advertisements at an electronics retail store in Tokyo April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
People ride an escalator past Nintendo Co advertisements at an electronics retail store in Tokyo April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Japanese game maker Nintendo Co will launch a new and inexpensive handheld gaming device and offer a $50 price cut for its 32GB Wii U console in North America and Europe this holiday season in a bid to reverse weak sales and woo gamers back to its offerings.

Dubbed the “2DS” and priced at $129.99, the new addition to Nintendo’s 3DS range will go on sale on October 12 and play 3DS and DS games with 2D graphics, as its name suggests.

Known for games with much-loved characters like “Mario” and “Zelda,” Nintendo has been facing stiff competition from inexpensive or free mobile games on tablets and smartphones. This reflects an industry-wide trend where mobile games are eating into the market share of consoles and handheld devices.

With the “2DS,” Nintendo hopes to attract new entrants in the handheld space who have not been able to afford variants of its 3DS systems, priced at $169.99 and $199.99, Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America said in an interview.

Some industry analysts have criticized Nintendo for not taking advantage of the rapid growth of games on iOS and Android mobile devices by keeping its game franchises limited to its own systems. Nintendo executives have said they believe that letting its other popular game characters like “Mario” roam on mobile devices would impair the company’s hardware business in the long term.

By introducing the “2DS,” Nintendo is going after “not just consumers who have necessarily a phone or tablet,” and want a taste of Nintendo’s game fare, “but all consumers, especially younger consumers,” File-Aime said.

The “2DS “release will coincide with the launch of Nintendo’s kids role-playing game “Pokemon X and Y.”

Nintendo’s prospects have dimmed since the launch of the Wii U console last November. After posting tepid sales -3.6 million Wii U units sold since launch to June 30 compared to 9.3 million units of its successor, the Wii – the game maker aims to sell 9 million consoles by next March by offering new games and reducing its price.

To boost Wii U sales, the company will sell its 32GB deluxe version for $299.99, down from $349.99 starting September 20, Fils-Aime said.

The eight month-old Wii U will face fierce competition from Sony Corp’s PlayStation 4, priced at $399, and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox One, priced at $499, which will hit store shelves in November. Both next-generation systems will come with cloud gaming technology that lets players stream games from remote servers and carry a host of exclusive games.

The company has also timed the release of games like “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD” and “Super Mario 3D World” to reinforce its Wii U console, Fils-Aime said. Third-party titles include “Call Of Duty: Ghosts” by Activision Blizzard and “Assassin’s Creed IV:Black Flag” by Ubisoft that will be released this holiday season.

“It’s going to be these launches that are going to drive the (Wii U) business forward and we’re certainly going to do a lot of marketing activity behind the price decline,” Fils-Aime said.

Analysts say the three-decade-old Nintendo has an uphill climb as competitors like up-and-coming GungHo Online Entertainment post millions in sales per day with just one mobile title called “Puzzles & Dragons.”

“One of our benefits is that our products tend to sell well over time versus this spike up and go away type of sales curve that other companies may have,” Fils-Aime said.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…