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50% of lifetime Wii sales still to come?

Fils-Aime: $149 price tag "very important"

Nintendo is anticipating a big Wii sales bump off the back of its just-announced price drop.

Speaking to MSNBC's In-Game blog, US chief Reggie Fils-Aime suggested that a sub-$150 price tag could potentially double the system's lifetime sales if the PlayStation 2's performance is an accurate barometer.

"For us this is a very important move," he insisted. "This is only the second price reduction for Wii hardware since we launched back in November 2006. And in the last home console cycle, the leading system at the time sold almost 50 per cent of its volume at a price point of $149 or below."

At the last count, the Wii has sold 86 million units worldwide. PlayStation 2, the current record holder, has moved 150 million.

Sales of the Wii have been slowing of late, with the Xbox 360 selling more over a 12 month period in the US for the first time ever back in March. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 3 continues to outpace it week-on-week in Japan.

"Typically a system peaks in the second year of availability and then gradually declines," commented Fils-Aime on the downward trend.

"Wii was fortunate to have a number of very strong selling years in its third and fourth year of availability. And from our perspective, the curve that we're on is natural and to be expected but importantly, the sales curve is higher than any other system."

He went on to claim that the lowered asking price will bring in a new demographic.

"When we launch our new home system sometime in 2012 we think the consumer buying in will look very different than the consumer who's going to be buying a Wii now," he explained.

"What we've seen in this business is that there are certain consumers who love being first - they have to have the absolute latest hardware - and there are other consumers that are perfectly happy to wait until the game library is much more robust and they have a wider range of options."

So, what exactly might that new Wii audience look like?

"There are a lot of households where kids will be off from school and the parents are either looking for celebratory presents as the children finish the school year or they're looking for a fun exercise to keep the kids busy and happy during the summer time frame," said Fils-Aime.

"We think there is a wide range of consumers that are wanting to purchase a Wii and what they have been waiting for is this type of announcement."

As detailed earlier today, the Wii will retail for £130 in the UK from 20th May, with either Mario Kart Wii or Wii Sports Resort bundled in.

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