Page last updated at 07:54 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 08:54 UK

Nintendo drops Wii console price

The Wii gets cheaper.

Nintendo is cutting the price of its popular Wii games console by 20% in the US and Japan.

The company has also confirmed to BBC News that the trade price will drop in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

However, the firm said the the ultimate cost for UK customers would be "determined by retailers themselves".

Earlier this year, the Japanese firm raised the trade price of the games console in the UK by £20, citing depreciation of the pound.

The current retail price is £199 in the UK, although many retailers still sell it for £179.

So far the Wii has sold more than 52 million units worldwide, outselling both the Xbox 360 (over 30m) and Sony PlayStation 3 consoles (over 23m).

However Wii sales this year are down - 2.23m units were sold between April and June, compared with 5.17m last year.

Nintendo hopes the new price will encourage a new wave of interest in the Wii.

The US arm of the company said its research indicates that there are 50m potential new customers in America alone.

"Our aim has always been to expand the gaming population and there are still many more people out there who have not yet experienced the fun of video games," said a spokesperson for the firm.

The Nintendo announcements echoes moves by Sony and Microsoft, who have slashed the cost of the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Xbox 360 as the countdown to Christmas shopping begins.

The Xbox 360 Elite gaming console has been cut by £30 to £199.99 ($100 to $299 in the US), and the PS3 is now £249 ($299 in the US).

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