Nintendo says that the $50 cut to the price of the Wii has resulted in a significant sales boost and put the company in a “very good position” for the holidays.

Nintendo has finally discovered what Microsoft and Sony figured out long ago: That there’s no better way to give your sales a kick in the pants than by cutting your prices. The Wii has been a phenomenally successful console but sales have tailed off this year, leading observers to wonder if the system’s rapid rise to the top of the heap would be followed by an equally dramatic flame-out. But Cammie Dunaway, executive vice president at Nintendo of America, said the price cut has dramatically improved sales, which are up 85 percent on a weekly basis since the reduction.

“I think going into the holidays, the Wii is in a very good position,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It has an unbeatable combination of games, experience and unbeatable value, and that continues to put it to the top of people’s wish list.” Dunaway added that the record-setting sales of the previous year, coupled with the absence of high-profile first-party titles from Nintendo like Wii Fit Plus and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, was at least partially to blame for slow Wii sales throughout 2009.

Not everyone shares her enthusiasm, however. While Nintendo managed to pump out an impressive 550,000 Wii consoles over the week leading up to November 28, that’s still roughly 30 percent lower than the nearly 800,000 units sold over the same period in 2008. “Those are weak numbers,” analyst Etsuko Tamura of Tokyo-based Mizuho Investors Securities Co. told Bloomberg. “Wii sales are slumping.”

They were high enough to put Nintendo back on the top of the charts, however: Sony announced that year-over-year sales of the PlayStation 3 in October leaped by a remarkable 70 percent to over 320,000 units and while Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed numbers for the Xbox 360, the NPD Group said sales of the console had slipped 33 percent from the previous year to 250,000 units.

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