Nintendo has cut the price of its N64 from £70.99 to £64.99 in an attempt to boost sales of the console in the run-up to Christmas.
The price cut is to be accompanied by a £2.5m marketing blitz to prop up the console in what many analysts consider will be its most difficult Christmas yet. THE, N64's distributor, has also introduced a range of bundles priced from between £84.98 and £109.98.
The aggressive price point places the console not only below the PlayStation, priced at £79.99, but also below the GameBoy at £69.99.
However, one industry insider believed THE had already accepted that N64 sales would inevitably be hit by the Dreamcast's launch and the continuing appeal of the PlayStation, resulting in the distributor reducing its full-year estimate for the console's sales.
However, THE will be looking to emulate the success of the PlayStation price cuts, which have pushed sales in the UK and have led to a shortage of the console in the US.
Nintendo's other arch-rival, Sega, has upped its European sales projection for the Dreamcast from one million to 1.5 million by the end of the year.
According to the European Leisure Software Publishing Association, in the first three quarters of 1999 the games market reached £538m, compared with £516m in 1998. The estimate for the final quarter is more than £401.5m. This will mark the first £1bn year in the industry's history, overtaking sales of books and videos.
Nick Gibson, an analyst at Durlacher, said: "With no big releases at the moment and sales suffering from the Dreamcast launch and Sony's continuing steady sales, Nintendo is attempting to stimulate the hardware business."
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