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Thursday, April 09, 2009
New Wii Sports Launches in June

Nintendo plans to release a new version of its blockbuster "Wii Sports" software in Japan in June in an effort to attract more buyers, as the console is facing the competition of Sony's PS3 device and a possible price cut for Wii is not an option, at least for now.

The original "Wii Sports" game allows users to play baseball, tennis and other sports using a motion-sensing controller. Wii Sports Resort, which will hit overseas markets in July, lets users throw a frisbee to a virtual dog or duel one another with swords with the controller, which looks like a TV remote and enables gamers to direct on-screen play by swinging it like a racket or baseball bat.

Nintendo believes that the software can propel sales of hardware and an updated version of the popular "Wii Sports" game could drive its Wii console sales. The game is expected to be released in Japan in June. Provided that the company is not planning to reduce the price of the Wii console in the following months, new game titles could help Wii outstrip the sales of Sony's PS3 entertainment device, which sold better than Wii in March for the first time in Japan, according to game magazine publisher Enterbrain. PS3's wealthy sales for March are attributed to the new PS3 titles from Sega Sammy and Capcom.

Reuters reported today that Nintendo's president Satoru Iwata described the current situation in Japan as "unhealthy" since the launch of Wii, mainly due to the global slowdown. However, Iwata said that they had no plan to cut hardware prices to stir up demand.

"If our products are not much different from competitors', price cuts would generate significant fresh demand. But video games are just not that kind of product," he said.

The Wii sells for 25,000 yen ($250) in Japan and about $250 in the U.S., and its price has never been cut. In contrast, prices of the Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation series consoles have been slashed to woo buyers. This month, Sony cut the price of the PlayStation 2, the predecessor to the PlayStation 3, to $99.99, from $129.99.

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