The Wii U: image of Nintendo's new controller with a touchscreen display.
(USA TODAY) -- With the launches of rival devices Xbox One and PlayStation 4 looming, Nintendo is chopping the price of its struggling Wii U video game console.
Nintendo announced the Deluxe version of the Wii U will sell for $299.99 starting Sept. 20. The bundle includes a black Wii U console with 32 GB of storage, the tablet-style Gamepad controller and a copy of the game Nintendo Land.
Basic bundles of the Wii U - which included no game and an 8 GB hard drive - will no longer be manufactured.
The company is also launching a limited edition bundle featuring The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD for $300. The bundle includes a deluxe console, digital copies of the game and Hyrule Historia, a book chronicling the history of The Legend of Zelda series, as well as a Zelda-themed Gamepad.
Combined with an injection of new first-party games arriving this holiday - including Mario adventure Super Mario 3D World and fitness title Wii Fit U - Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime is confident in a rebound for Wii U.
"It was critical for us to have a strong software lineup to support Wii U," says Fils-Aime. "With that in place this holiday season, we believe providing consumers that extra incentive in terms of a $50 price cut is really going to help drive momentum."
The price cut arrives as Nintendo endures a huge slump in sales for the Wii U. As of late July, global Wii U sales reached 3.61 million, with the company only selling 160,000 during its first quarter. The company predicts it will sell 9 million Wii U consoles during its fiscal year, which ends in March.
While the reduction from $349.99 should entice consumers, a stronger lineup of games might be equally as important to how the Wii U performs this holiday, says Lewis Ward of IDC.
"We saw with the 3DS that the combination of a price cut and more compelling first-party software really led to a turnaround," says Ward.
Sales of Nintendo's 3DS handheld gaming device took off following a $80 price cut introduced months after it launched in 2011. Since then, several titles including Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D Land and Animal Crossing: New Leaf have sparked a boost in sales. According to research firm NPD Group, the 3DS has been the top-selling video game device in the U.S. for three straight months.
Nintendo will launch a new version of the DS called the Nintendo 2DS on Oct. 12. At $130, the device is aimed at "entry-level consumers," says Fils-Aime.
"We need to have a strong entry price point proposition for consumers," he says. "There are consumers out there where the base 3DS ... might be a little out of reach."
The 2DS will host both DS and 3DS titles in a 2-D view, and ditch the clamshell design in favor of a slate form factor that retains the traditional dual screens and control layout. The handheld will be available in red or blue. A new Zelda title for the 3DS,The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, launches Nov. 22.
As for Wii U, the price cut also comes roughly two months before Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 hit stores in November. Both devices will likely boast improved visuals as well as advanced features such as integrated game DVRs, content sharing and background downloads of digital games.
However, Wii U should still have a solid holiday, says Digital World Research analyst P.J. McNealy.
"All the great games they've been working on for the Wii U are finally coming out," he says. They've had some delays and missteps, but this will be a good holiday for them despite all the noise around Xbox One and PS4."