Nintendo has announced that it intends to ship 6 million Wii units by March next year, confirming that the console will retail for USD 250 or less when it goes on sale in the US.
According to Nintendo's senior managing director, Yoshihiro Mori, the console - which is scheduled for a release in the fourth quarter alongside Sony's costly PlayStation 3 - will retail for YEN 25,000 or less in Japan.
The news came as part of the platform holder's full-year financial report, which revealed a 19 per cent fall in annual operating profit due primarily to a slow demand for the GameCube and GameBoy Advance hardware and software and start-up costs for the next generation console.
The company saw a rise of 12.5 per cent in net profit, which reached YEN 98.4 billion, boosted by the continued success of its DS handheld. Nintendo plans to sell 16 million hardware units and 70 million units of software for the handheld in the current business year, and is forecasting a twenty-two per cent rise in operating profit to YEN 110 billion this fiscal year.
The Wii console is key to Nintendo's future success and the company is banking on its strategy of introducing disruptive technology to capture a large percentage of the market, bowing out of the high-tech hardware race between Microsoft and Sony and concentrating on innovation and affordability in place of the superior graphics and processing power that has dominated the next-generation platform.
Much has been made of the console's projected low-end pricing structure, executives from both Microsoft and Sony predicting that consumers will purchase the Wii as a second console and switching the focus back to a consumer choice between the Xbox 360 and the considerably higher priced PS3 - while Nintendo could potentially secure a massive segment of the global games market.
Sony is targeting 6 million PS3 sales by March 2007, despite a dual SKU price point of USD 499/599 for its Blu-Ray enabled console. Nintendo has projected the same figures for the Wii, which comes in at half the price and could potentially be purchased alongside an Xbox 360 for less than the cost of Sony's base level machine.