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Nintendo: Wii won't top $250 in U.S. market

The next-generation game console due for release this fall is priced well below PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

Nintendo has announced that the price of Wii, its next-generation video game console, will not exceed $250 in the United States or $220 (25,000 yen) in Japan.

Between the fourth quarter of 2006 and March 31, 2007, Nintendo expects to ship 6 million Wii systems worldwide, the company said.

Photos: Nintendo's Wii controller

While the device lacks the same level of gaming power offered by Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, its unique controller has prompted gamers to mark it as a contender.

Nintendo first demonstrated the Wii controller to the game community this month in Los Angeles at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

The Wii remote, which is equipped with a motion sensor in addition to the usual controls, can be used as a direct-action implement, allowing players to swing it like a light saber, sword or baseball bat in communication with the game being played. (Click here for a CNET.com video of the Wii in action.)

The Wii became the underdog hit of E3, despite criticism of its quirky name, which is pronounced "we." (The device was called Revolution during development.)

Nintendo did not release pricing and availability at that time.

During E3, Sony announced that its PS3 would be available for $599 for the 60GB hard drive version and $499 for the 20GB version. Microsoft's Xbox 360 sells for between $299 and $399, depending on options, but the company has had problems meeting demand, frustrating both would-be customers and Microsoft stockholders. The company announced an increase in Xbox 360 production in March.

Correction: This story incorrectly priced the 60GB version of PlayStation 3. It is $599.