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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Sony Corporation (ADR) (SNE): Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (NTDOY) Slashes Wii U Prices, But Is It Too Late?

The clock is ticking on Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (OTCBB:NTDOY)‘s Wii U. The gaming device has had the next-gen console market to itself for a year, but that’s set to change as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) enter in November. The Xbox One and PS4 are coming, and Nintendo needs to make the most of the time it has left before this industry gets too crowded.

That could be one of the reasons why it just slashed the price of the console by $50. Starting on September 20, the 32-gigabyte Wii U deluxe model will cost $299, which compares favorably to Xbox One’s $499 price tag and to the PS4’s $399 cost.

Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY)

It’s just a flesh wound!

But Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (OTCBB:NTDOY)’s move is more about defense than offense. The Wii U has had a terrible start, selling just 3.61 million units so far. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), by comparison, has sold about 10 million of its current-generation Xbox 360 console over the last year. And recent trends aren’t good. Last quarter, Nintendo only managed to sell 160,000 Wii U consoles worldwide.

The company admitted that it didn’t do itself any favors by having a skimpy selection of first-party titles ready at launch, and that’s clear enough from the numbers. Shoppers have only purchased about four games to go along with each Wii U sale, on average. That’s well below the attach rate for the original Wii, which has racked up almost nine times as many software sales as console sales.

Can Mario save the day?

However, Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (OTCBB:NTDOY) thinks it can start turning things around by introducing a strong slate of titles this year. It is running a kind of “grand reopening” of its console for this coming holiday season, including the above-mentioned price cut. Also on tap will be new games from all the powerhouse brands you would have expected Nintendo to bring out at launch like Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, and Donkey Kong.

There’s good reason to think that Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (OTCBB:NTDOY)’s Wii U will recover once the game library gets a boost. For example, GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) recently polled its own customers about why they haven’t purchased a Wii U yet, and the No. 1 reason they gave was the limited number of new games available for the console. Remove that problem, and robust sales are still possible. A GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) executive told investors as much last week, saying, “We are excited about the number of new games from Nintendo, and we do see the potential for significantly improved performance this fall and holiday.”

Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (OTCBB:NTDOY) needs to book some major improvement over that time period. There’s no chance that it will get a third shot at establishing the Wii U.

The article Nintendo Slashes Wii U Prices, But Is It Too Late? originally appeared on and is written by Demitrios Kalogeropoulos.

Fool contributor Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of GameStop and Microsoft.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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