Nintendo plunges $200 million into Wii marketing

Posted by Mark Raby

New York (NY) - Taking one of its most aggressive moves in its 20+ year history of producing video games, Nintendo has said that it has plans to spend more than $200 million to advertising and marketing campaigns for its upcoming Wii console. The offensive move demonstrates Nintendo's hopes to capture more market share in the new generation, and climb up from its struggling position in last place in the previous console battle.

See the Nintendo Wii slide show here ...

The massive advertising campaign will kickstart on Tuesday with the first US TV ad and will be be, according to media reports, the biggest ever for Nintendo. The Kyoto, Japan-based company hopes to capture market segments off-put by the expense and intimidation of the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Nintendo, whose long-running campaign has been based on the strategy "We're all about the game," will be the only one introducing a new console without a big slate of multimedia features. Nintendo decided not to include movie playback capabilities or high-definition output, to keep costs low for the Wii. The result is the least expensive console in the new generation. The retail price for the Wii will be $250 when it makes its worldwide debut in the US on November 19. Alternatively, Microsoft continues to sell its Xbox 360 in two versions, priced at $300 and $400, the prices originally set when it launched last year. The PS3 tips the scales at $500 for the base model, with a more feature-packed unit to sell for $600 when it goes on sale in the US this Friday.

Part of Nintendo's most desired audience is adults, particularly those who don't consider themselves hardcore gamers. This campaign began with the Nintendo DS. Brain Age, the surprise hit for Nintendo's latest handheld system, has reached units sales of over four million worldwide, a large part of which Nintendo claims is of the non-typical gamer, including adults, and even senior citizens.

The Wii, which uses a simplistic controller design, is designed to attract the audience of people who mainly want a casual gaming experience, along with the millions of long-time Nintendo devotees. As the longest-running video game hardware manufacturer, Nintendo has a large library of franchises, including Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon, which will only be available on the Wii. This is also a large part of Nintendo's strategy to move out more Wii consoles than it did the Gamecube.

Nintendo's Gamecube fell short of the company's expectations, selling about 11.7 million units worldwide during the console's 5-year history. This is compared to over 37 million PS2 systems and more than 13 million original Xboxes. Nintendo is hoping that offering a completely different experience than the PS3 and Xbox 360, along with a more reasonable price and a huge marketing campaign, it can come back from last place and make a more defined mark in the new era.