Wii U price cut: Can Nintendo jump-start sales?

Mark the date: A Wii U price cut arrives on Sept. 20. Nintendo will cut the price of the Wii U by $50.

A Wii U price cut is around the corner. Starting Sept. 20, the Nintendo Wii U will be 50 bucks cheaper.

Nintendo will soon drop the price of its new Wii U console by $50. 

In a press release today, Nintendo announced that starting Sept. 20, the Wii U Deluxe set would sell for $299.99, down from $349.99 at launch. Also on Sept. 20, Nintendo will release a Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker bundle – complete with the game, a bunch of limited-edition artwork, and a "GamePad with Zelda-inspired gold accents" – for $299.99. 

So what's behind the announcement? Well, for one thing, the Wii U has been selling rather dismally. According to Reuters, Nintendo has unloaded 3.6 million Wii U units since launch, which sounds like a big number until you consider that the Wii U launched all the way back in November of 2012. Globally, in the months spanning April 1 and June 30, the Wii U sold a measly 160,000 units. (That figure is "really, really bad" Kotaku has noted.) 

But there's also the small matter of the impending launch of the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4. Microsoft is said to be eyeing a Nov. 8 release date for its device; Sony has confirmed that the PS4 will hit shelves on Nov. 15 in the US and Canada. (To put things in perspective, the PS4 will sell for $399 and the Xbox One for $499, but then again, both consoles are considerably more powerful than the Wii U.) 

The press maelstrom that is likely to follow the debut of both devices certainly won't be good for Nintendo, which puts extra pressure on the Japanese company to get consumers interested in the ailing Wii U.

And who knows? If there's one thing that can rouse a torpid fan base, it's a new Zelda game. 

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