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Where are Wii? 440

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-under-my-tree dept.
WirePosted writes "Santa is in trouble, it looks like supplying the Christmas need for a Nintendo Wii game console is in jeopardy as stocks wither under constant and heavy demand. Conspiracy believers suggest this is an orchestrated move on behalf of Nintendo." Since this happens to be what I want for Christmas, I hope they work it out, or my loving wife has already found one.
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Where are Wii?

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  • Couple Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:26AM (#21630871) Homepage Journal
    Two things jump out at me in this article. The first is that this once again proves that Gartner is worse than useless. The second is that they left out one element. Take a look at Amazon [amazon.com] or over at ebay [ebay.com]. There are literaly thousands of Wiis that have been purchased by people for no other reason than turning around and selling them above retail. This has been going on for quite a while, though the prices have really spiked in recent weeks. I think they were averaging around $350 on Amazon for quite a while, as opposed to the over $500 now. And the number for sale there has greatly increased. I think some people may end up still holding them after the holidays though, because part of the appeal of the wii is the price. If I'm going to drop $600 on a console - I might as well get a 360 with some games or a PS3 that can play all those PS2 games out there.
  • Buzzlight year (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:33AM (#21630907) Journal
    Any one remember Buzz Lightyear and the Furbies?

    Same shit every Christmas just with a different name. Kids want the same 'cool' toy, so mothers (and some times fathers, but usually mothers) turn up at Toys 'r' US at 3am every day waiting for the next shipment then end up in near fist fights over it. It's been going on for as many years as I can remember, the only difference is the cost of the wii is much greater than the cost of a Furby or Buzz Lightyear was.

    But hey, I already have a Wii and want a 360 this year, so I'm quite happy to watch the same story over again, except this time it's on slashdot instead of the local news.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mosch (204) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:44AM (#21630987) Homepage
    It's not like Wiis are that cheap to begin with, at least not the way most people set them up.

    Wii - $250
    Wii Play w/Wiimote - $50
    Two more Wiimotes - $80
    An extra Nunchuk - $20
    Component Video Cable - $20

    And you're at $420 without buying any meaningful games, at regular retail price. Toss in sales tax and a handful of games, you've already broke $600.

    Beyond that, I just don't buy the argument that a 360 or a PS3 is a true competitor to the Wii. People who buy the Wii want it for the innovative game play, and nothing else satisfies that demand.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:45AM (#21631001) Homepage Journal
    I didn't even think of that. People can be such weasels. Though it's good by me I guess. I told my kids that if we could get our hands on a wii at regular retail after the holidays, we'd get one. I'm letting them save up and we are going in on it together. I figure it's a good chance for them to learn about money and what not.
  • Re:i got mine (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:47AM (#21631011)

    I searched last Christmas and for the following six months before stumbling across a few of them just being put out in a local wal mart. I thought about buying them all and EBay'ing all but one. I assumed, foolishly, that the shortages were ending and I would be lucky to get my money back. I am happy i got one for my family though!!!
    I'm glad you avoided being an asshole. Buying up a stock and then selling it at double the price [amazon.com] is really low.

    Nintendo needs to follow the way Apple handles the (NS)AT&T iPhone.
  • Re:Buzzlight year (Score:5, Insightful)

    by microbrewer (774971) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:48AM (#21631019) Homepage

    Any one remember Buzz Lightyear and the Furbies?

    Same shit every Christmas just with a different name. Kids want the same 'cool' toy, so mothers (and some times fathers, but usually mothers) turn up at Toys 'r' US at 3am every day waiting for the next shipment then end up in near fist fights over it. It's been going on for as many years as I can remember, the only difference is the cost of the wii is much greater than the cost of a Furby or Buzz Lightyear was.

    But hey, I already have a Wii and want a 360 this year, so I'm quite happy to watch the same story over again, except this time it's on slashdot instead of the local news.
    The thing about the Wii is that its the Must Have Item 2 years in a Row
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fozzyuw (950608) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @10:54AM (#21631047)

    Take a look at Amazon or over at ebay.

    Excellent point. There are few consumer goods, toys if you will, that this applies to. This "ticket scalping" like attitude is pretty new to a lot of consumers and of course they're going to blame the company directly. However, it's not the case. Besides the unprecedented demand (it's been practically sold out for over a year in a lot of places) and the fact that hot toys, even when not in demand in the off season, can see sold-out status during the holidays, Nintendo has actually increased factory [latimes.com] output for the holidays. Of course, I think 1.8 million consoles [kotaku.com] a month is nothing to shake a stick at.

    I do feel sorry for a little sorry for those who cannot get one, but I also write it off as them not trying hard enough. With a little effort, it wasn't hard to get a Wii back in Oct. They would sit on the shelf for about 2 days before going sold out (according to GameStop and WalMart employees in my local area, YMMV). If you called every day, you'd have gotten one in a week. Of course, your best bet now is to wait until after Xmas, when the Wii bubble pops, and all those hording Wii's for premium re-sales during Xmas will flood the market at standard costs. Otherwise, good luck and keep trying!

    Cheers,
    Fozzy

  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:01AM (#21631091) Homepage Journal
    Wont you be doing the same on the other platforms though? and from what I've seen wii games are a bit cheaper than the other two. I agree with you about the innovative game play - but if the console alone started at $600 or more, it wouldn't be selling like it is. Nintendo really found a sweet spot teaming up that new style of play with a great price point.
  • by UserChrisCanter4 (464072) * on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:09AM (#21631121)
    Urban legends tell us that console manufacturers make no profit on the console but recoup the losses on games. Of course, various articles over the years have debunked that belief, and the general message seems to be that Nintendo was making a healthy profit on the Wii LAST year when they started selling it. With the reduction in cost on the various components, it can only be better this time around.

    The simple fact is that Nintendo has underestimated demand YET ANOTHER time. It's not as though they were the only ones who made this mistake - tons of third party companies jumped in around July and August this year to announce that they'd be releasing titles for the Wii now (presumably they hadn't been onboard earlier because they expected it to be a failure). Analysts have been continuously stating that the Wii would "lose steam" when people got over the novelty. It never happened. Now demand is through the roof again, and it's a tough problem. Getting the output just right for the holiday season is tricky - too few and you're left with the current situation, but too many and you'll have factories sitting idle after the fact. Couple all of that with the problem other posters have mentioned, ebay and Amazon "scalping" of Wiis, and you've got more difficult problem than you might first think.

    Bottom line: Nintendo makes good money on every Wii sold. Every Wii sold at holiday season also likely represents at least one more wiimote+nunchuk combo sale, which nets them even more cash, not to mention the additional games. But obviously Nintendo would rather turn down millions in profit so that they can keep the system "elite" or some such business. This is starting to sound like the old underwear gnomes business model meme.

    Think of this way, if it helps: RockBand is also selling out like crazy. EA and Harmonix have publicly stated that they can't make enough to satisfy demand. They make a profit on the package. Do you think they're not selling more as part of some brilliant plan to make it even cooler?
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by achtzwerge (1178883) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:15AM (#21631145)
    Wouldnt it be smart to say such a thing, just to get all those undecided people to go out and buy a WII now? If theres plenty around, you might hold off on your purchase and maybe, just maybe buy something else entirely?
  • by Graftweed (742763) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:26AM (#21631207)

    Yeah, it's crazy. Nintendo has indeed pulled [marketingweek.co.uk] all Wii ads in the UK.

    We have been running the campaign all year round, but we want to take a responsible stance this Christmas and not fuel demand.

    When was the last time a company decided to stop advertising a product because they were selling too much of it?

    Probably a good move, there are already some pretty pissed off people out there as it is.

  • by killbill! (154539) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:38AM (#21631269) Homepage
    Price in the US: USD 249
    Price in Europe: EUR 249

    The profit margin is much higher in Europe (even after accounting for VAT). It makes sense to give priority to the countries where the profit margin is highest.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jarjarthejedi (996957) <{christianpinch} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:42AM (#21631297) Journal
    It's not like the 360 is cheap to begign with, at least not the way most people set them up.

    360 - $350
    Extra Controller - $60
    HD Cable - $20

    And you're at $430 without buying ANY games, at regulare retail price. Toss in sales tax and a handful of games and you've broke $700.

    The Wii is the cheapest current gen (the PS2 and them are now last gen) console. That is a fact, no matter how the other console fanbois may boost the price by including accessories.

    Oblig Penny Arcade http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/09/14
  • idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:59AM (#21631399) Journal
    "Conspiracy believers suggest this is an orchestrated move on behalf of Nintendo"

    Then they would be idiots, do people think that when someone sells one on ebay for £320 (as I have seen happen, that's more than the PS3) they send off a nice cheque to nintendo just to say "thanks"? no. Nintendo loses money on each of these (since they only get the original sale and after the inflated price people are less likely to buy a lot of games). Nintendo really wants to meet demand, it's stupid to suggest otherwise.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EggyToast (858951) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @12:12PM (#21631471) Homepage
    Not exactly; the other platforms have a push towards online play and single player play, meaning you pay the Gold account fee on a 360 and no extra fee on a PS3. You already own the single controller, which is all you need to play the online game.
    It's a long term, non-permanent charge on the 360, for sure, but it is less than buying the extra Wii controllers.
  • Re:Buzzlight year (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @12:24PM (#21631563) Journal
    Me, I'm getting a Gamecube this christmas. I like to stay a generation behind, you avoid the hype, prices are down, and games don't get less fun because they're old. Maybe in 2010 I'll check out this wii thing. :D
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @12:31PM (#21631627)

    But while that might be how MANY Wii's end up, you can put a $300 box under the tree, if that's your budget, and still have something entertaining. If your buying it for someone over 15 they can accessorize it themselves.
    I don't think that people should underestimate this. I've done that with other things, and the quality of the stuff you can get in that manner is often times far better than when you're stuck buying it all at once.

    My camera and home gym setups would both have been far out of my reach had I been required for one reason or another to plunk down the cash for either of those at once. It also allowed me to make better decisions about what extras to get.

    Granted those aren't directly analogous, but there is a strong corellation, I'm sure that the items included with the WII are sufficient to at least play a bit, even if not at the height of what the platform offers. And that is far better than having no system at all.
  • Re:idiots (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @12:55PM (#21631863) Journal
    as I understand it, they are. But they lose money in the sense that if they would almost certainly make more money if people weren't buying them to sell on ebay, this is because the inflated price means people have less money to spend on games - so whilst it might seem like they make money either way (which they do), they make less than they would have done
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pyite (140350) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @01:02PM (#21631909)
    At that point I was EXTREMELY tempted to lure them to a remote area and beat them senseless with a Colecovision.

    Why, because at that point it became apparent to you that they understand economics better than you do?

  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @01:11PM (#21631991) Homepage
    Economics != Greed

    That is an American fallacy. You can't have democracy if all you want to do is take from others.
  • From what I've read, the current production lines are going full tilt to get the 1.8 million/month. They will need major capital expense to expand production. How fast would Nintendo be able to recoup that expense? If demand drops before this, then as the parent mentioned the money is wasted and either ruin their profits or ruin the return on the capital expense. Nintendo is between a rock and a hard place.

    The rock: Their competitors are able to throw a lot more money at the development of next gen consoles. Thus from a technology standpoint, better consoles.
    The hard place: If they overextend themselves they may end up like Sega. No longer making hardware and creating games for other consoles.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teh kurisu (701097) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @02:02PM (#21632401) Homepage

    That's not really a fair comparison, because online play requires that each player has his or her own console. If you assume the same for the Wii, that all the people you will play with have their own Wii, then they all have their own Wiimote and Nunchuk, so there's no reason to buy any extra controllers.

  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jason Earl (1894) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @02:07PM (#21632447) Homepage Journal

    Not to be rude or anything, but people that are getting a Wii for Christmas have friends and loved ones. These friends probably want to play too. I know that if I was going to drop several hundred dollars on a video game system for someone there had better be enough controllers so that I can play something too.

    I know that PS3 and XBox 360 owners get all excited about Internet play, but that's actually one of the signs that both Microsoft and Sony misunderstand the console market. There is a certain small but vocal subset of the market that wants to play games against random losers on the Internet. There is a much larger part of the market that wants to play games with people that they know, and they probably want to be in the same room together while they play. Sony, and to a larger extent Microsoft, have invested heavily in the random loser market, but that doesn't make this a good investment.

    I realize that consoles have grown up past being something that parents buy for kids, but that's still an important part of the market. As a parent myself I can guarantee you that I wouldn't even consider letting my children participate in the "random loser" market. If you want to play video games with someone, bring them over where I can see them. I'll pitch in for the extra controllers. After all, I might want to play myself.

  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mosch (204) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @02:45PM (#21632707) Homepage
    Well, you've almost proved my point for me.

    By the time you add everything up, you're looking at $600+ versus $700+. I just have a hard time believing that there is a significant contingent of people who are happy to pay $600 to play games, but think that $700 is too much.

    I know the Wii is a little cheaper, but I still don't buy the idea that it's popular because of price. I think it's popular because it's really fucking fun; especially for people who want to play casually against friends.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by captjc (453680) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:33PM (#21633107)
    Then again, todays controllers are also more complex than the controllers of yesteryear. NES controllers had one PCB with 8 buttons (D-Pad, A, B, Select, Start). With the exception of the cable connects, I think everything is connected via board traces (no wires). This design is very simple and very sturdy. lets look at a more modern controller (I will use the PS2, as that is what I am more familiar with). First we have two rumble motors, being electromechanical, it is a major point of failure. Then we have two analog sticks with buttons (again mechanical, thus both are major points of failure) to connect the mechanical parts to the boards, wire has to be used. The problem with wire is that breaking the solder joints becomes way easier. Plus we then up the 8 buttons of the NES to 14 (D-Pad, Select, Start, O, X, Square, Triangle, L1, L2, R1, R2).

    The problem that I see is not really cheap chinese parts but more complicated controllers. The more complicated the design, the easier it is to break it.
  • Re:pack mentality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:44PM (#21633193)
    How's that profit? Nintendo isn't selling them at the dynamic market price, they're selling them at MSRP plus they make a hefty chunk of change on game sales which rely heavily on the hardware sales (also other developers will scale their support according to the hardware sales which means more or fewer games and more or fewer hardware sales in the future). It doesn't make sense for them to short the supply, they're making less money with constrained supply.
  • Re:idiots (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jma05 (897351) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @04:17PM (#21633453)
    1. They already doubled production.
    2. The whole business model of the consoles is based on creating a large user base for their closed product rather than profit from sales. Reaching that target slower is counter profitable. Wii still has to take over PS2's base.
    3. They are pulling their TV ads because they are unable to meet demand.
    http://www.efluxmedia.com/news_Wii_TV_Ads_Canceled_In_UK_11531.html [efluxmedia.com]

    Pulling ads is not something a company that wants to create artificial demand does.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @04:58PM (#21633913) Journal
    The whole generation of NES gamers are graduating college now, and they aren't all living in the same room, let alone same city. Few who play on live do so because it will allow them to play with random losers on the internet.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wooky_linuxer (685371) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:32PM (#21634269)
    I don't get it. You want to beat them because they are using capitalism to... make money?

    They aren't forcing you to sell your Wii to them. Or other people to buy theirs. So what's the big deal? I understand people who buy Wii/PS3 in a retail store and simply return them if they can't be sold with hefty margins, are probably being unethical. But after all, it is their Wii. They can sell it if they wan't. It is up to a) consumers don't be stupid and don't pay the prices they ask for and b) Nintendo ramp up production. If some big company kept you from selling some good, or say some software or media, you purchased from them, how would you feel?

  • by Xest (935314) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:40PM (#21634977)
    I'm probably going to get modded down for saying this, but honestly the Wii with just one controller is a pretty shit console, you can count the number of games worth playing by yourself on one hand almost literally. It's a console that really needs to be played with people to really stand out as an amazing console so in my experience, having owned a Wii since release and having a few friends with one you really do need at very least one extra controller, but ideally 4 so you can make the most of the awesome party games that are aimed at multiple players.

    Contrasting that with the 360 there's a plethora of games you can play by yourself and with other people but the games you play with other people are nearly always designed to be played with other people online so you realistically only need one controller, maybe 2, there is of course the fact that one controller fits all so other than the likes of guitar hero you are only buying the one or two controllers for the full range of games rather than requiring the classic controller, the gamecube controller for backwards compat., the wiimote and the nunchuck and if you're really into it the various other addons out there like the wii zapper and such.

    I'm not saying the Wii is a bad console, but I've always thought those that suggest it's the low price point that made the Wii do well are wrong, because here in the UK you're looking at £175 for the Wii, £30 for Wii play + the Wii mote, £50 for another 2 wii motes, £45 for 3 more nunchucks and £30 for a pair of classic controllers - that's essentially £330 for the Wii to really reach it's peak which is also more than it costs for a PS3 and 360 to reach their peak. In contrast you can get a 360 with a couple of games and extra controller bundled in for £280 now or a PS3 with a game bundled and 2 controllers for £300.

    I don't think therefore that the Wii is doing well because it's cheap unless people really are failing to realise the total cost of the Wii but because it is different, because it is a social phenomenon, I realised pretty early on that the Wii was going to end up costing me more in terms of hardware than my 360, but it didn't deter me because the concept of it interested me and because the 360 and PS3 just didn't have the same selection and same amount of fun party games for when friends are over that the Wii did.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @09:31PM (#21636327) Homepage
    Maybe people interested in a video game don't want to waste their life playing the stock market. There's nothing fun about money unless you spend it on something you enjoy. Making money isn't fun, it might be satisfying but it doesn't stimulate your endorphins. Money is fake; it's an abstract concept. It used to represent work, converted into a generic, delayed product. Today it means absolutely nothing; the people with the most money are often those who didn't lift a finger to earn it.

    Speculation has corrupted what was once a fair and honest system. The stock market is bullshit. Anyone in the tech industry should know this after living through the dot-com bubble. The very concept of "cashing out" is proof that there is zero value in money.

    Maybe I'm crazy, but I personally refuse to give some jerk an extra $200 just to get a Wii that I *should* have been able to buy at the regular price from any store. In the always-connected 21st century, middlemen are no longer required (nor welcome). Nintendo should sell direct and drop-ship right to my doorstep.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brickwall (985910) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:53PM (#21637367)
    What good has capitalism brought to the world ?

    Seriously, are you a low-functioning moron, or a high-functioning imbecile? Let's look at that bastion of socialist perfection, Cuba. It's been nearly 50 years since Castro took over; can you name a single invention or useful good that they've developed in half a century? Didn't think so.

    In the meantime, bad old America created mini- and micro-computers, a bunch of useful programming languages, some tremendously useful software applications, cable and DSL data connections, a whole bunch of life-saving medicines and technologies, cellphones, LANs, fibre optics - I could go on, but what's the point? Jobs and Wozniak, Gates and Allen - I'm sure they were all interested in what they were doing, but I'm also pretty sure they did it because they wanted to make money.

    I've seen some stupid comments on /., but this one takes the cake. You live in a style that kings and queens didn't enjoy 100 years ago, and you question the system that provided it? You are some kind of ingrate.

  • Re:Tickle Me Elmo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) on Monday December 10, 2007 @12:01AM (#21637469) Journal
    I never remember a toy that was 'in' for two consecutive years.
  • Re:Couple Thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mazarin5 (309432) on Monday December 10, 2007 @12:05AM (#21637507) Journal
    Being born around the time the NES was released does not make you the "Nintendo Generation" unless you mean that generation was defined by the people that cut their teeth on a controller. That generation would be the children in the 8-12 range whom the NES was marketed to from its release until it was replaced by the SNES.

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