Nintendo Co Ltd will launch the Switch, its first new game console in about four years, on March 3 for $299.99 in the United States and 29,980 yen in Japan, the video game maker said on Friday. The price of the Switch, a hybrid home console and handheld device, compares with the $299.99 (approx Rs 20,500) in the U.S. and 25,000 yen in Japan that it costs for the firm’s existing Wii U console.
Nintendo shares were down as much as 3 percent after the announcement, falling from 25,085 yen beforehand to as low as 24,365 yen in afternoon trade – 3.3 percent lower than Thursday’s closing price. That compared with a 0.8 percent gain in the benchmark Nikkei 225 share price index.
Nintendo, which began by making playing cards in the late 19th century, is counting on the Switch to revive its earnings which rely heavily on console sales. Its Wii console, which debuted in 2006, captured casual gamers with popular fitness and sports features, propelling Nintendo’s profit to record highs.
But the succeeding Wii U flopped due to a dearth of popular game titles and a consumer migration to smartphone games, pushing the company into a loss for three consecutive years through March 2014. Analysts said the Switch is likely to offer a richer game lineup than its predecessor as the new console is powered by processor chips based on game developer-friendly architecture by designer ARM.