Nintendo Wants to Sell 4 Million Wii Units During Holiday Season

Hopes Family-Targeted Marketing, Lower Price Appeals Wide Consumer Base

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YORK, Pa. ( -- Nintendo is angling for must-have status this holiday season for its Wii video-gaming console. And with today's announcement of a $249.99 price tag and widespread availability by mid-November, backed by a massive marketing campaign, the company might just get its wish.
Wii will sell for $249, vs. Xbox 360's base price of $299 and PlayStation 3's $500.
Wii will sell for $249, vs. Xbox 360's base price of $299 and PlayStation 3's $500.

"For families, it is absolutely the must have this year," said Ricardo Torres, senior editor for GameSpot. "For kids especially, it's probably not going to get much better than this."

4 million units
As Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime noted at a press event for Wii's introduction today, "We want to bring Wii to the masses." He said the company expects to sell 4 million units by the end of the year. Microsoft's Xbox 360, which launched last holiday, has sold about 5 million units to date.

Wii's price tag is especially relevant compared with the base price of the Xbox 360, $299 (a deluxe version of the system sells for $399), and Sony's PlayStation 3, which is expected to launch in the U.S. a few days before Wii at around $500. Nintendo is also boxing games with its system, an atypical move in console sales.

In conjunction with Nintendo's ongoing effort to expand the gaming market beyond core gamers, Wii's marketing will target 29- to 45-year-old heads of households, George Harrison, senior VP-marketing and communications, Nintendo of America, said in an interview with Advertising Age two weeks ago. The buy will include prime-time TV ads, he said, which is unusual in a category where media is usually confined to narrow gamer-friendly media outlets.

'Upbeat family advertising'
Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Worldwide, Chicago, is creating the Wii ad campaign expected to launch in October. "We haven't finalized yet, but we've got four great ideas in research right now," Mr. Harrison said, adding that the work is "upbeat family advertising. ... It won't be emphasizing hip and cool."

He said agency and marketer are exploring the use of consumer-generated media, plus broadband and TiVo ad messages, possibly with the ability to download game samples.

The Wii package includes the console, one wireless remote and one "nunchuk" motion-sensitive controller, along with a Wii Sports set of games including tennis, golf, bowling, boxing and baseball. It will launch with 30 Nintendo titles priced at $49.99. Wii can also connect to the web, allowing users to browse news and weather and send e-mail, as well as connect for online gaming play.
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