Nintendo has cut the price of its Gamecube console by 20 percent in Europe, less than two weeks before it launches the product there.

The move comes just days after Microsoft slashed Xbox prices in Europe by £100 and offered previous buyers extra kit to mollify any ill-will.

When the Gamecube goes on sale across Europe on 3 May it will have a recommended price of €199, just £122 — a lot less than the Xbox and €51 (around £31) less than the price Nintendo announced in January.

Xboxes are now pegged at €299 for most of continental Europe and around €329 for the UK and Ireland. This equates to a street price of £199 here — in typical Microsoft fashion the UK is paying the highest prices in Europe.

The price will vary in some markets, with the Gamecube costing between €209 and €229 in the Netherlands, according to a separate announcement from Nintendo Benelux. Whether this will equate to higher prices in the UK is unknown.

Microsoft was forced to reduce the price of Xbox after poor sales, and its lower price stood to impact sales of the previously much cheaper Gamecube.

Now the gap between the two products has been widened again and consumers will be left to decide which console offers the better selection of games and whether it is worth paying the higher price for the Xbox's ability to double as a DVD player.

Around 20 software titles will go on sale with the Gamecube when it launches at the end of next week, with Nintendo promising around 50 titles by the middle of this year. In contrast, there are 25 games available for the Xbox now and around a further 16 are promised before the middle of the year.