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Friday, October 03, 2003
Nintendo cuts GameCube price in European market


Nintendo slashed prices in Europe for its GameCube video game console by up to 50 percent, to revive slumping sales of the market-trailing device. From October 10, GameCube will carry a suggested retail price of $132.10 in Britain and $115.80 in continental Europe, the Japanese video game maker said in a statement.

The move follows price reductions in the United States last week and a 29 percent price cut for Japan earlier Friday.

Analysts said video game publishers and retailers had been piling pressure on Nintendo to lower prices as demand remained weak and inventory backed up in the approach to the crucial Christmas season.

GameCube trails market leader Sony PlayStation 2 by a wide margin and is losing ground to Microsoft's Xbox, analysts said.

According to market research firm ScreenDigest, Nintendo had an installed base of 1.6 million units compared to Xbox's 2.3 million in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.

Sony recently announced PlayStation 2 had a total installed base of 15.6 million for the same region.

Launched across Europe in May, 2002, GameCube has failed to maintain its early sales levels. According to ScreenDigest, Nintendo sold 550,000 units in May and June of 2002, but just 357,000 in the first six months of 2003.

"The problem in this business is you get into a self-fulfilling cycle. When hardware sales start to underperform, games sales start to underperform and game publishers start to withdraw support," said Ben Keen, executive director at ScreenDigest.

Last week, Nintendo cut GameCube price in the U.S. to $99. It dropped the price in Japan to $126.30.

Earlier this week, Sony cut the PlayStation 2 price tag in the UK to 139 pounds from 159 pounds.

David Gosen, managing director for sales and marketing at Nintendo Europe, told Reuters Friday the company had budgeted to spend 15 million euros to advertise the console across Europe this Christmas.

Nintendo Thursday said it sold 61,000 GameCubes in the United States -- four times the weekly average -- since the September 24 cut to $99.


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