Don’t write off Nintendo just yet.
To boost its standing in the three-way battle with Sony and Microsoft this holiday season, Nintendo today cut the price of its “Deluxe” Wii U by $50 and announced an entry-level DS handheld gaming system with two screens on a wedge-shaped tablet.
At just $130, the new 2DS looks like it will be a hit this holiday season. At the least it will give Nintendo a quasi tablet to compete against the iPad, Kindle Fire and other Web tablets that are luring buyers away from dedicated gaming systems.
The company also disclosed its holiday game lineup and bundles that include its upcoming blockbuster, “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.”
Wii U sales have lagged since the console debuted last fall with a unique touchscreen-tablet controller, launching the next generation of game consoles. Headwinds for the Wii U included building a library of games for the new platform, challenges finalizing its software, growing interest in mobile games and falling prices on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as they entered their twilight years.
This holiday season price will be a key differentiator for the Wii U, which will be competing with the $499 Xbox One and $399 PS4 that are arriving in November. Nintendo’s also selling some premium games for $50, versus the $60 or higher price of premium Xbox and PlayStation titles.
“Nintendo has one of the strongest and most diverse video game lineups in our history,” Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America president said in a release. “Today we’re making those unique Nintendo experiences more accessible and affordable.
Today Nintendo said the Wii U Deluxe Set will sell for $300 starting on Sept. 20, down from $350. For that same price,a limited-edition bundle including the new Zelda game and gold accents on the controller, will also be available starting Sept. 20.
On Oct. 12 the company will begin offering the 2DS. Instead of a folding case like previous DS systems, the 2DS has a fixed, “slate-type form factor.” Nintendo didn’t include the 3-D capability that it introduced with its 3DS handheld in 2011, back when TV and entertainment companies were heavily promoting 3-D video and before the trend fizzled. The 2DS is compatible with games made for the current 3DS but in 2D only.
New titles coming to the Wii U and 3DS include:
“The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD” (screenshot below): Downloadable version out Sept. 20, packaged version Oct. 4, both $50. For the 3DS, “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” is out Nov. 22 for $40.
“Wii Party U”: Coming Oct. 25 in bundle with Wii Remote Plus controller, for $50. “Mario Party” for the 3DS is out Nov. 22 for $40.
“Super Mario 3D World”: Out Nov. 22 for $60.
“Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze”: Out Dec. 6 for $50.
“Wii Fit U”: Due in the holiday season, details not yet released.
Third-party titles coming to the Wii U over the next three months include “Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure,” “Skylanders SWAP Force,” “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” “Just Dance 2014,” “Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag,” and “Watch_Dogs.”