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Nintendo slashes Wii price tag

For the first time, Nintendo says it will be cutting the price of its three-year-old Wii game console - a move designed to preempt upcoming Microsoft and Sony motion devices.

With the eyes of the gaming world turned to Sony's Tokyo Game Show kick-off keynote tonight, Nintendo of America stole some of its competitor's thunder by announcing the long-awaited first price cut for the Nintendo Wii.

After weeks of leaks and price cuts that brought both the Xbox 360 Elite and PlayStation 3 to $299, Nintendo has finally confirmed suspicions of gamers and analysts alike, announcing a $50 price cut to the Wii, effective this Sunday, September 27.

Surprise?.

The system and its motion-sensing controller debuted in North America on November 19, 2006, with a $249 sticker price. It sold out almost immediately, and remained a tough find on store shelves throughout the holiday season of 2008. While the price tag on the system has finally changed, the contents of the box have not. The $199.99 Wii will come with a Wii Remote, Nunchuk, and the original Wii Sports. The pack-in's follow-up,Wii Sports Resort, and its accompanying Wii MotionPlus attachment, will still need to be purchased apart from the console.

In a note to investors, Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich said the cut is a response to disappointing hardware sales that have been slipping industry-wide since February. While Nintendo isn't the only company feeling that pinch, Divnich said the sales slip of the Wii has been steeper than its competitors. He believes this cut will help the Wii reverse that trend and keep it selling well throughout the holidays.

"EEDAR believes Nintendo is making a pre-emptive strike to capture as much of the mainstream and casual market as possible before Microsoft and Sony can release their mainstream-targeted motion capture devices (expected to launch in late 2010)," Divnich said.

This article was originally posted on GameSpot.