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Nintendo Cuts Wii U Price, Adds Handheld

Redmond, Wash.  — Looking to amp up interest in its underperforming video game console, Nintendo revealed Thursday that it has cut the price by $50 for the Deluxe version of its Wii U video game console, to $300, and also added a new entry level handheld game player.

 The Wii U console price drop is scheduled to take effect September 20, and will be applied to a bundle including a black Wii U console with 32GBs of internal storage, a tablet-style Gamepad controller and a copy of the game Nintendo Land.

Nintendo will stop producing the basic version of the Wii U, which carried a $300 retail price and offered 8GB of storage and no bundled game.

The company is also launching a limited edition bundle featuring “The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD” for $300. The bundle includes a deluxe console, digital copies of the game and Hyrule Historia, a book on the history of The Legend of Zelda series, and a Zelda-themed Gamepad.

At the same time, Nintendo said it will expand its lineup of handheld consoles by adding the 2DS, which can play DS and 3DS mobile video games, minus the 3D support of the current 3DS.

The 2DS is being offered in blue or red versions, and features single slate-style device with two screens and control layout. It will include a back mounted 3D camera to support playing augmented reality videogames.

The 2DS avoids the potential health concerns the 3DS presents for some children under the age of six.

 The 2DS will be released Oct. 12 for $130, which is about 24 percent below the cost of the lowest ($170) 3DS package.

For the April to June quarter, Nintendo reported the Wii U sold just 160,000 units, which was below Nintendo’s original targets. As of late July, global Wii U sales reached 3.61 million units. The company expects to sell 9 million Wii U consoles during its fiscal year, which ends in March.

The price cut also comes as both Microsoft and Sony prepare to introduce this November their next generation consoles – the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, respectively.

Nintendo also hopes to give the Wii U a popularity boost by releasing new game titles based on its most popular franchise characters — “Super Mario Bros.” and “Donkey Kong.”

Nintendo said most of its eight Wii U games will launch in September through November time frame, including “Super Mario 3D World.” Title prices will range from $40 to $60.