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Retail anticipates "excellent" sales of new Wii bundle

Price drop and strong release schedule expected to boost festive sales for Nintendo

UK game retailers have reacted positively to the news Nintendo is to reduce the trade price of the Wii and introduce a new MotionPlus bundle ahead of the festive period, predicting the moves will result in "excellent unit sales".

"I think the Wii price drop is great going into the busiest period of the year," said Chris Harwood, purchasing director of independent chain Grainger Games.

"Stores, including ourselves, haven't increased the price since it went up, so there may be no major difference. But with the added value offered with Wii Sports Resort and MotionPlus in the pack, it makes the console a lot more appealing again and I think we will see a substantial rise in sales."

The price drop might be viewed by some as a catching up exercise on Nintendo's part, added ShopTo CEO Igor Cipolletta, but he believes it will be enough to allow retailers to offer competitive pricing on both the console and bundles.

"Despite the differing specification and market for each console, thanks largely to an attractive pricing strategy Nintendo will continue to expand its market share thanks to its more family orientated console," Cipolletta predicted.

Nintendo yesterday announced price drops of USD 50 and and JPY 5000 in the US and Japan respectively. Today came the news that European territories would also see a EUR 50 price reduction, with the UK the only region not to benefit from a direct cut.

However, the platform holder has reduced the trade price of the console by an undisclosed amount, which is expected to have returned it to the same cost price it was at in April, before Nintendo began asking more for the system due to the weak pound.

It has also confirmed a new MotionPlus and Wii Sports Resort bundle will arrive on October 2 - a bundle which retailers such as Amazon and Play.com are expected to list at GBP 179.99, the same as the current offering.

This, in addition to the easier availability of Wii Fit and the upcoming Wii Fit Plus, the recent Wii Sports Resort and imminent return of favourites such as New Super Mario Bros Wii and Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympics, will all ensure Nintendo enjoys an "excellent" Christmas in terms of unit sales, said Cipolletta.

"Nintendo are still firmly on the map as far as parents buying for their kids are concerned. I think despite the economic downturn, this move should see excellent unit sales and that can only be good for customers, developers and Nintendo alike."

Meanwhile, Harwood predicted that all consoles will have a very strong Christmas with the new price points and bundles on offer. "It would be a hard call to predict which one will win the sale battle as they all appeal to so many different users now," he added.

"I think all three have been very tactical and all must have had an idea of what their competitors had lined up as they are all offering great value. I can see an amazing Christmas with the new console deals and amazing software line up on all formats."

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Kath Brice