Nintendo: No Wii U price cut

Nintendo is already selling the Wii U below manufacturing cost and will try to drive interest with new game titles

Nintendo won't cut the price of the Wii U to boost sagging sales.

President Satoru Iwata said the company can't afford to lower prices on the new console, so it will focus on better games and creating more buzz. He said Nintendo is planning to release a large number of titles from the second half of this year through to 2014.

"With Wii U, we have taken a rather resolute stance in pricing it below its manufacturing cost, so we are not planning to perform a markdown," Satoru said. "We delivered Wii U to those consumers who we thought would be the first to buy it, but information has not successfully been passed on to those consumers who we think will be the next people to buy it."

Satoru made the comments Thursday as part of his remarks on Nintendo's poor October-December results, released a day earlier. On Wednesday, Nintendo slashed its yearly sales target for the Wii by 27 percent and lowered its earnings forecast for the fiscal year through March as holiday sales failed to reach expectations.

He ended speculation that Nintendo could take the same kind of drastic action with the Wii U that it did with the handheld 3DS. When the smaller console stumbled after its launch in 2011, Nintendo took drastic action and slashed prices less than six months after launch.

Despite the price cuts and dozens of new game titles, the 3DS continues to underperform. On Wednesday, Nintendo also cut its sales goal for the handheld 3DS to 15 million in the fiscal period through March. That is the second cut during the current term for the device, which Nintendo originally targeted for sales of 18.5 million.

Iwata said the lack of hit software titles for the 3DS led to its underperformance outside of Japan and the downward revision. But he noted that shipments of the 3DS continue to outpace those of its predecessor, the DS, at the same point after its launch.

He specifically noted the lack of successful titles for the Wii U and other consoles produced by Nintendo. He showed a list of the best-selling games in the U.S. for 2012, topped by "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and bemoaned the lack of Nintendo titles.

"The fact that we could not include any first-party titles for our home consoles in the list, and were not able to create a virtuous cycle in this gaming industry that is driven by the presence of hit titles, summarized our year 2012 in the United States," he said.

A similar chart for the U.K. showed several titles around the Super Mario franchise, but none in the top ten. Individual results for Spain, Germany and France showed better performance for Nintendo's games.

The Wii U and 3DS, Nintendo's two main products, are both successors to smash-hit products that drove the company to record profits in recent years. The portable DS is Nintendo's best-selling game console ever, with over 930 million units sold, while the larger Wii has sold over 863 million units.

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Tags business issuesfinancial resultsNintendogames

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
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