September 1, 2004 10:56 AM PDT

Nintendo trims Game Boy Advance price

Nintendo trimmed the price of its Game Boy Advance player on Wednesday as the company prepared for one of the most serious challenges yet to its dominance in the market for portable games.

The Game Boy Advance SP will now sell for $80, down from the original $100, Nintendo said in a statement, characterizing the move as an effort to expand its already sizable market.

"This new price point makes Game Boy Advance SP affordable for the vast majority of the mass market," said a statement from George Harrison, senior vice president of marketing for Nintendo of America.

Nintendo has dominated the market for handheld games for more than a decade with various versions of the Game Boy, selling a cumulative 170 million units worldwide.

The company is facing new challenges, however, from a handful of competitors looking to crack the market with advanced technology and multimedia capabilities.

Most significant among them is Sony, which hopes to extend its dominance of console games with PlayStation Portable (PSP), set to make a debut late this year in Japan. The PSP will feature an advanced processor, high-resolution display and a new optical media format the company also expects to use for distributing music and movies.

Cell phone giant Nokia has taken a different tack with its N-Gage device, a combination cell phone and portable gaming deck that made a debut last year. While questionable design decisions and other factors have muted consumer interest in the device, Nokia has revamped the design and announced Wednesday that it has now shipped a million N-Gage units worldwide.

Nintendo is planning its own response to high-end portable gaming with the DS, a dual-screen handheld player that will offer multiplayer games and text messaging via a wireless connection. Nintendo has not yet announced a price for the DS, but the company is expected to position it between the Game Boy Advance and Sony's PSP, likely contributing to Wednesday's price cut.

 

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