Console Price Wars Hot, But Not So Heavy

Dennis Faas's picture

A few weeks ago, I reported that Nintendo expected its Wii to, even a year after release, again sell out at Christmas time. Those that do get their hands on the sleek little console shouldn't expect to pay any less, either. The Japanese gaming company plans no price cuts by the time Santa makes his annual visit.

With its competition at Microsoft and Sony announcing fairly sizeable price chops, it's a bit surprising Nintendo hasn't even entertained the idea. In an interview with Reuters, Nintendo senior marketing VP George Harrison said, "We'll stay at $249 for the foreseeable future. We are still selling everything we can make." (Source:

And, that's exactly why they wouldn't begin to budge. Despite the fact that the Wii is leagues below the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in graphical power and media muscle, soon only a marginal price difference will separate the systems. And yet, the Wii is the hot seller.

Return of the "Arcade"

However, industry pundits should expect competition for that crown. Microsoft recently announced it would drop the price of its Xbox 360 to just $279.99, which should announce to Nintendo that the latter is not alone in the sub-$300 marketplace. In addition, although Nintendo brings little in the way of games to the table this fall, Microsoft has already launched Halo 3, Bioshock, Project Gotham Racing 4, and Half-Life 2: Orange Box. (Source:

Still, little is known about the cheaper Xbox 360, not-so-secretly codenamed "Arcade". It's expected that the unit will replace the lower-end Core edition of the console, although no one really knows what the package will include. It's been seen on store shelves in Target, already. (Source:

In the end, cheaper prices on either the Xbox 360 or the PS3 may not matter one bit. The Wii, as we all know, is popular because of its simple gameplay characteristics based upon motion-sensitivity technology. Microsoft doesn't have it, and neither does Sony.

Price drops won't change that. Not for Nintendo, and certainly not for their competition.

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