Nintendo says Wii will start for under $250

In a news conference in Osaka, Japan today, Nintendo finally made an official announcement regarding the pricing for its upcoming Wii console. The machine will sell for up to $250 in the U.S. and up to ¥25,000 ($220) in Japan. This price is a tad higher than the $200 suggested by multiple rumors since Nintendo's E3 conference, but it's still at least half as much as Sony's $499-599 PlayStation 3, and a good $49 or more lower than the Xbox 360.

Nintendo remained mute about the Wii's launch date, although the company did disclose plans to ship six million Wii consoles by March 2007—the same target as Sony's for the PlayStation 3. Since the PS3 is due to launch on November 17, the Wii could show up later if Nintendo expects stronger sales due to its more attractive price tag.

Nintendo's pricing announcement may have been a move to appease investors. In the same conference, the company announced a 19% drop in operating profit and a 1.2% dip in sales since the same time period last year. The company blamed these problems on decreasing demand for GameCube consoles and GameBoy Advance handhelds. Nintendo's shares fell 8% following the announcement, although the company said it expects to rebound over the next year with a 21.8% increase in profits before next April.

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