The Nintendo Wii may be getting a price cut next month.
For months now, reports have been swirling that Nintendo would eventually cut the price of the Wii. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said in a research note in February that all three console makers would be forced to cut the price of their devices this year as demand starts to fade.
"After maintaining console prices at historically high points throughout 2010, all three console manufacturers appear to us to be poised for price cuts in 2011," Pachter said at the time.
Over the past year, Wii sales have slowed considerably. Nintendo revealed earlier this year that it sold about 7 million Wii units in the U.S. in 2010. It had sold more than 10 million units in 2008 and about 9 million units in 2009. Moreover, the Wii has trailed the Xbox 360 so far this year in overall sales. In February alone, Microsoft sold 535,000 Xbox 360 units in the U.S., compared with Nintendo's 454,000 Wii units sold.
Historically, price cuts have been used to drum up demand for consoles. In 2009, Nintendo did just that by cutting the price of the Wii from its $250 price tag down to $200. Since then, however, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has publicly balked at the idea of doing it again.
"Of course, we cannot say [a Wii price cut] will never happen, but we are not thinking of it for the near future," Iwata told the Associated Press in October. He added that offering bundles with the same $200 price tag is enough to improve sales.
Nintendo launched a "Mario-red" Wii bundle a month after Iwata made his comments. The bundle included a red Wii, the Wii Remote Plus, Wii Sports, and a red nunchuk. It also came with Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii Sports. As Iwata predicted, it was enough to propel Nintendo to the top of the hardware market.
In December, arguably the most crucial month for game hardware vendors, Nintendo sold 2.3 million Wii units in the U.S. Microsoft came in second place with 1.9 million Xbox 360 units sold.
Nintendo did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on Wii pricing.