Nintendo cuts Wii U price, debuts 2DS handheld

The 2DS has a new slate style form factor and loses the 3D capabilities of its predecessor

Nintendo cut the price on its flagship game console and introduced a portable system Wednesday, hoping to spur sales and better position itself for the year-end holiday season.

The Wii U Deluxe Set's price was reduced by US$50 to $299.99. The price change goes into effect Sept. 20 and is likely due to increased pressure from Microsoft and Sony, which are launching their next generation consoles later this year.

"[The price cut] was a combination of sluggish sales, an interest in undercutting demand for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 while Nintendo still can, and believe it or not a more favorable exchange rate between the dollar and the yen," said Lewis Ward, IDC research manager for gaming.

The company also introduced the Nintendo 2DS, an entry-level portable game console. It's backward compatible with 2,000 games from Nintendo's DS and 3DS libraries, but as the name suggests it doesn't offer 3D capabilities. The 2DS sports a slate form factor, which is different from the clam shell design of the 3DS. It will go on sale Oct. 12 for $130.

To see the 2DS, watch a video on YouTube.

Ward thinks that the 2DS will boost the Japanese game maker's handheld sales.

"The price drop, coupled with new game card launches, such as "Pokémon X" and "Pokémon Y", which will arrive the same day as 2DS, will help lift Nintendo's holiday season results relative to 2012."

Ward said that the 3DS family has been performing "respectably" for more than a year. He projects 2013 sales of about 16.2 million units globally, which would give the 3DS line -- to which the 2DS will belong -- its best annual sales since it came to market.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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