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Nintendo to bring Wii Mini to US later this month

The company's no-frills $99 console makes its way stateside as Nintendo tries to tighten its grip on the lower-end video game hardware market.


Nintendo has announced that it will finally be stocking its stripped down, $99 Wii Mini console on US store shelves later this month.

The Wii Mini, which debuted in Canada shortly after the official Wii U launch last fall, has seen launches in a number of other markets, most recently the UK in March. With Wii U sales tepid, only spiking recently thanks to a significant price cut, Nintendo has its eyes set on expansion.

Now that Nintendo has discontinued the original console, the mini redesign is the last remaining hardware option for classic Wii lovers. US buyers will get the console bundled with one Wii Remote Plus and nunchuk attachment, as well as a copy of Mario Kart Wii. Nintendo says the console will be available by the middle of this month.

The console -- which cannot connect to the Internet and only plays Wii optical discs -- marks another attempt by the Japanese hardware and software maker to keep its grip on the low-end market as it expands its hardware offerings to multiple price tiers. In August, Nintendo introduced the $129.99 2DS handheld as a means to bolster its higher-end 3DS' ecosystem given that handheld's tremendous sales.

Nintendo -- historically the one company able to dominate the lower-end gaming market while Sony and Microsoft compete higher up -- has seen a wave of new competition in recent years, from component maker Nvidia with Shield to Kickstarter success story Ouya.

And while Nintendo is not budging on its decision to steer clear from smartphones, it's become increasingly more aggressive in pricing and differentiation. That means holiday buyers looking for a cheap video game console will have yet another offering from Nintendo.