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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Nintendo gives European Wii price
Nintendo Wii controllers
The console uses an innovative controller with motion sensors
The Wii console from Japanese gaming giant Nintendo will cost under 250 euros (170) in Europe, according to a senior executive at the company.

The figure is the first time the games giant has given a European price.

Bernd Fakesch, head of German operations at the company, mentioned the figure in an interview at the Leipzig Game Convention in Germany.

In May, the company said the console would cost 25,000 yen or lower in Japan and $250 (133) or less in the US.

When it is released later this year, the Wii console will compete with Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Microsoft's Xbox 360. No exact date for the Wii's launch has been given.

Long wait

The Wii console, formerly known as the Revolution, was unveiled at this year's E3 games expo in Los Angeles.

The console features a controller that looks like a TV remote control and uses motion sensors to allow gamers to use it as a tennis racket, sword or conductors baton, for example.

The price has not been decided yet, but I expect it to be ... less than 250 euros
Bernd Fakesch, Nintendo

At its launch no price or release date was set.

In May this year, the company released its financial results and confirmed the American and Japanese prices. It omitted a European price.

On Wednesday, Nintendo held a press conference at the Leipzig Games Convention titled "Wii prove our promise". Many industry observers expected Nintendo to confirm a European price and launch date at the event. It did not.

However, speaking to Reuters at the event Mr Fakesch said: "The price has not been decided yet, but I expect it to be ... less than 250 euros."

The price is considerably less than the cost of Sony's PlayStation 3, which will hit European shelves on 17 November this year.

A basic version of Sony's console with a 20GB hard drive will cost $499 (266), while a premium model boasting 60GB of storage will sell for $599 (320).

The exact price in Britain has not been announced but the head of Sony Computer Entertainment in the UK has suggested it could be around 425.

Pre orders of the next generation consoles are on offer for 550 ($1,020) at online shop, play.com.

Prices for Microsoft's Xbox 360, which went on sale last November, start at $299 in the US and 209 in the UK.

Both offerings from Microsoft and Sony boast more gaming power than the Wii.

But Nintendo says it aims to win over gamers with an affordable price and innovative titles.

The Japanese company hopes to sell 4 million consoles by the end of 2006.

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