Nintendo may be facing a fight for its life at UK retail, as the decision by the Dixons group to liquidate GameCube stocks is replicated by another leading retailer - high street and catalogue sales outlet Argos.
In an effort to clear existing stock of the GameCube, Argos will be cutting the price of the system to an all-time low of £78.99 - over £50 cheaper than Nintendo's SRP for the console, and significantly lower than the £99 price point set by Dixons in its stock clearance effort.
Like Dixons, Argos claims that it will be reconsidering the future of GameCube after this stock clearance, and will make a decision based on the demand for the console at that time. "Sales have been slow so we wanted to speed these up by selling it at a good price," according to Argos marketing director Paul Geddes. "In terms of what happens after that, we haven't yet taken a decision on the format."
However, the message here is clear - Nintendo needs to do something drastic to get mainstream retail support back on board, or it faces the collapse of the GameCube as a viable platform in Europe as non-specialist retailers, traditionally a stronghold for Nintendo products, pull the console off their shelves.
The other concern is that Argos' move will undermine the success of the Metroid Prime console bundle, which launches this Friday at an SRP of £129.99. Given the massive price cut offered by Argos on the console hardware, it will in fact be cheaper to buy a GameCube and a copy of the critically acclaimed game at Argos than it would be to buy Nintendo's official bundle. Oops.