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Weak US Dollar Means Nintendo Favors Europe For Now 588

Posted by timothy
from the aber-vere-ahr-all-zee-deutschmarks? dept.
timeOday writes "The LA Times is reporting that the new Nintendo Wii Fit is hard to find on US shelves, due not only to strong demand but also the United States' declining status in the world economy: '"[Nintendo] is also is shrewdly maximizing its profit by sending four times as many units to Europe, reaping the benefits of the strong euro," says Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. "The shortage demonstrates one consequence of the weak dollar. We're seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere."'"
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Weak US Dollar Means Nintendo Favors Europe For Now

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  • Bah Humbug (Score:5, Informative)

    by neokushan (932374) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @02:27PM (#23701389)
    I hate how Europe always gets shafted, especially when it comes to gaming.
    Rarely do we ever get a title released here first, even titles that were developed here tend to get released in the USA first.
    What's more, Nintendo, Sony AND Microsoft have all indicated that they don't care for Europe.
    Sony is probably the worst offender, by giving us a stripped down PS3 at nearly twice the price as the US and Japan (There's only so much "tax" and "import costs" can account for).
    Rock band is actually cheaper to import from the US than it is to buy in the shops (it's almost twice the price when you buy the set and the game!). This is really nothing new, but it's still infuriating the way we get treated.
  • by l-ascorbic (200822) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @02:36PM (#23701449)
    The EU has no rules stating that companies have to release multi-lingual stuff. Individual countries (France) have rules related to language, but I think that mostly applies to advertising. There's nothing to stop them just releasing it in the UK and Ireland, so long as they don't prevent people elsewhere importing it if they want to.
  • by PKFC (580410) <pkfc@NoSPAm.hotmail.com> on Sunday June 08, 2008 @02:45PM (#23701509)
    Turns out Europe overtook the US gaming market [kotaku.com] for FY2007.

    I hate hearing the whining of the article repeated elsewhere: "We're seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere." That link I just posted says Japan is #1 in sales at $11.5 B USD, Europe is #2 at $11.4 B USD and US only pulled in $10.7 B USD. So companies aren't ignoring their largest market; they're giving the leftovers to the third largest market. Deal.
  • Re:Bush (Score:5, Informative)

    by Goaway (82658) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @02:51PM (#23701561) Homepage
    Cynicism is no substitute for insight: http://zfacts.com/p/318.html [zfacts.com]
  • by bonehead (6382) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:01PM (#23701619)
    I spent mine. It all went into the gas tank and to the power company.
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:2, Informative)

    by INeededALogin (771371) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:17PM (#23701713) Journal

    I like a nice clean world too...but, strike a balance guys....if it comes to the US failing, and a couple of spotten owls, I'll feel sorry for the owls, but, I gotta say humans and our needs take priority.
    I'd like to share a revelation that I've had, during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you aren't actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with its surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.
  • Re:Language barriers (Score:5, Informative)

    by mikael_j (106439) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:20PM (#23701733)

    This depends on what country you're in, here in Sweden most people speak english well enough that until recently few games were translated to swedish, to this day many of the big titles (guitar hero, gta series, WoW and lots of others IIRC) are not available in swedish versions, yet we have to wait until the release of the versions of games translated to german and french before they're released, in english, here.

    /Mikael

  • Re:Language barriers (Score:4, Informative)

    by MemoryDragon (544441) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:25PM (#23701751)

    I beg to differ. Few people speak English in Europe, except in a few countries like the Netherlands. You probably just hang around with English speakers only and don't see the reality.
    Pretty much everyone in central northern and western europe speaks english to some extent. The only exceptions probably are southern spain, rural france and probably southern italy. Eastern europe is pretty well equiped, people learn english like crazy there you might get a problem in rural areas but definitely not in cities.
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:3, Informative)

    by homer_s (799572) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:26PM (#23701759)
    We no longer manufacture things in the US, basic big stuff like steel, etc. We just depend on buying it cheaper overseas....

    Here is a pop quiz that may be of help to you:

    1) In what year did U.S. Manufacturing output reach its all-time peak?
    a. 1966 b. 1976 c. 1986 d. 1996 e. 2006


    2) In what year did U.S. Manufacturing revenue reach its all-time peak? (inflation adjusted)
    a. 1966 b. 1976 c. 1986 d. 1996 e. 2006


    3) In what year did U.S. Manufacturing profits reach their all-time peak? (inflation adjusted)
    a. 1966 b. 1976 c. 1986 d. 1996 e. 2006


    4) In what year did U.S. Manufacturing exports reach their all-time peak? (inflation adjusted)
    a. 1966 b. 1976 c. 1986 d. 1996 e. 2006


    5) Average annual compensation (wages + benefits) for US manufacturing jobs is
    a. $36,000 b. $46,0000 c. $56,0000 d. $66,000


    6) What are the relative sizes of the US and Chinese manufacturing sectors?
    a. China outputs 2.5 times the US b. Equal c. The US outputs 2.5 times China


    7) Which country produces the largest share of total world manufacturing output?
    a. China b. Japan c. Germany d. France e. US


    The answers if anyone cares about facts: 1-e,2-e,3-e,4-e,5-d,6-c,7-e

  • Re:Heh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by homer_s (799572) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:40PM (#23701885)
    Ah yes. More regulation to correct a problem created by regulation.

    Here is a question for you - why is that Houston,TX which lacks zoning laws restricting industrial, commercial and residential construction to specific neighborhoods, did not [dallasfed.org] experience the boom/bust in real estate that other major cities did? And this in a city where population growth was among the highest in the nation?

    Just because you think something is a good idea does not mean it is. No one person can have enough information to know what the most productive use of a resource is. It takes collective wisdom in form of people exchanging resources freely with the price system transmitting the information to get the most productivity out of a resource.

  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:5, Informative)

    by homer_s (799572) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:43PM (#23701907)
    Well, the data I have is from 2006 and I'm too lazy to look up newer data.
  • by Gazzonyx (982402) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:47PM (#23701953)
    Yeah, but you guys also get games that I wish I could get here in the US. European game developers tend to gives games much better plot lines than the US game developers. For instance, I love the X series, and I had to scour the local games shops to find a copy of X2 and X3. Games with plots just don't sell as well here as games with explosions. Give me a well thought out plot before explosions, I say. That means I'm usually relying on German and UK based companies to deliver the goods.
  • Re:Bush (Score:5, Informative)

    by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:50PM (#23701979)
    I wonder if this has anything to do with Bush running up trillions in debt and making everyone hate us?

    Well look at it this way.

    The government is the only entity that can effectively control the amount of currency in circulation. It is the only entity that can create and destroy money by fiat; it can print currency, it can create funds to lend to central banks, and it can destroy the money it created.

    The government takes money from you every year in April. Someone has to repair roads, pick up garbage, provide for the common defense etc. Asphalt, garbage trucks, and missiles cost money. The government prints this money and spends it. It's all OK because it picks your pocket, pulls out dollars, and destroys them to account for it. And you shouldn't complain because you get to drive on nice roads with no garbage or foreigners.

    What if they didn't take your money? That's what George W. Bush did. He figured you'd like him more if we skipped the part where the money comes out of your pocket and gets burned up in order to close the books on the services you receive from the government. So the money escaped your pocket (or at least your $300 consolation prize did), and suddenly all this money that had been spent paving the roads and collecting garbage was suddenly appearing at Wal*Mart for its second life, and it got spent a second time to buy more garbage, predominantly imported crap from overseas. Basically the government printed crap dollars, we spent them on imports, giving sellers overseas dollars that they promptly exchange for their own currencies. The currency exchange markets are quickly overwhelmed by dollars. These quickly end up parked in immense T-Bills held by foreign banks, who would like to unload them but cannot risk damaging their value by flooding the dollar markets with their own holdings. But the value of the dollar is deteriorating anyway, much to everyone's dismay- because dollars are the most widely held currency in the world. And we owe them to everybody. You see how awkward this is.

    Let's say now you're sitting on a loading dock with 500 Nintendos on pallets. Do you want to turn them into dollars? Heh heh heh heh heh.

    But the invisible hand has a way to correct everything. Maybe someday we can make our own Nintendos.
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:1, Informative)

    by Drive42 (444835) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:52PM (#23701997)
    Lemmings don't throw themselves off of cliffs. That's a myth produced by Disney.

    Snopes:

    http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lemmings.asp [snopes.com]
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @04:02PM (#23702057) Homepage Journal
    In his figures, a single copy of Windows Vista counts more towards "manufactured goods" than does a mid-range stereo receiver... one copy counts as more than a dozen shovels.

    When you count Britney Spears CDs, Windows, Bewitched and Gilligan's Island DVD box sets, etc. as "manufactured goods," yeah, we turn out a lotta shit.

    TVs, electronics, appliances, clothes, shoes, tools, household goods, various other hardware - not so much as we used to.

  • Re:Heh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by homer_s (799572) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @04:16PM (#23702169)
    Dallas is an up-and-coming technology center...There has been a TON of new technology businesses that have setup shop in Dallas in the last decade...

    Shouldn't that have increased prices in Dallas more than the other places like Phoenix, Florida and California? Why didn't that happen?

    But consolidation in the last decade has hurt the abilities of the markets to function the way they are supposed to.

    Can you give a few examples of consolidation and what aspect of the workings of markets that it has hurt?
  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @04:27PM (#23702253)

    raised in Jakarta by his white mother and various arab men
    Thanks for clarifying ... last time I was in Jakarta I could have sworn the place was populated with Indonesians, but I now realize I was in fact surrounded by extremely clever Arabs who were impersonating people of Malay/Melanesian descent.
  • Re:Bush (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2008 @04:48PM (#23702369)
    "BTW: all references to "educational" materials on youtube should be classified the same as kittens on treadmill..."

    sigh.

    the source of knowledge doesnt invalidate the knowledge. if tomorrow every english math book says 2+2=5, and i find a hitler youth math book that says 2+2=4, should i flat out reject the information based on the source?

    the fact of the matter is, you can find tons of good and true information from tons of different sources, and to say that one source is ALWAYS incorrect is almost always wrong (notice my 'almost'?)

    if one website i find says 2+2=5, i can do a little research on my own and find out if that holds true or not.

    and by the way, being a student of economics of course you wouldnt see it as being that 'simple'. the end effect is the same, and your education may actually be a stumbling block preventing you from seeing that.

    anyway, why am i even wasting keystrokes on /. anymore.

    there are bigger issues at hand, and most of this is being done to keep you from seeing what that is.

    "Other thing is that debt is kept pretty stable in proper economy, it's wars and such that imbalance it."

    my friend, it is you that needs to do some reading.

    if you would like a history lesson on how our banking system was created and who it benefits:
    http://www.pacinst.com/terrorists/preamble.html

    if you would like to actually read something that matters and has broader implications for your life:
    http://www.pacinst.com/efh/preamble.html
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) * on Sunday June 08, 2008 @04:50PM (#23702395)
    I am sorry, but I am familiar with IP laws in most of the rest of the developed world. I have 12 patents in my name that have been issued in multiple countries. Japan is actually more lenient in granting patents than the US. The EU is a little more strict but not much. In other areas (copyright) most countries have either a 50 year or 70 year post-mortem copyright period. The US is not at all unusual with it's 70 year period.

    Yes China's situation is a bit different as a developing nation but it is rapidly becoming normalized with the rest of the world as they are starting to develop their own "imaginary property". They are now a member of WIPO, the Paris convention, the Madrid Agreement and have a State Patent and Trademarks office. While enforcement is spotty the trend is obvious.

    Any claim that the US economy isat a disadvantage due to IP laws is hooey.

  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:4, Informative)

    by xaxa (988988) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @05:46PM (#23702725)

    Also, while our European governments steal all our money for taxes, we use it for better things than throwing bombs at some desert...
    And what exactly do you use it for? I'm always hearing how universal healthcare costs Europe less per capita than the US system costs our government. Now if your not going to war (where most of our budget goes), and spend less on healthcare then us, what are you doing with all those taxes?
    Excellent question! I've searched around, and UK tax is spent on: [treasury.gov.uk]
    - Social protection, £159bn
    - Personal social services, £26bn
    - Health, £105bn
    - Transport, £20bn
    - Education, £78bn
    - Defence, £32bn
    - Debt interest, £31bn
    - Industry, agriculture, employment and training, £21bn
    - Public order and safety, £33bn
    - Housing and environment, £22bn
    - Other, £62bn

    What those things mean is defined by the UN [un.org]. For the UK, most of 'Social protection' is social security benefits, i.e. money given to the unemployed, families, retired people etc.

    For more detail than you could possibly want, see the HM Treasury Report [hm-treasury.gov.uk].

    But I think you might have wanted me to say name other things I notice in daily life, other than healthcare, that I don't have to pay for. I'm not sure, since I haven't lived in the US and don't really know how life works there. If I lose my job, I can ask for "Jobseeker's Allowance", and I'll be given £46.85 a week (so long as I prove I'm looking for another job). Other things like that are listed on Direct.gov.uk [direct.gov.uk] (e.g. benefits, free travel, pensions, student loans, ...)
  • Re:Language barriers (Score:2, Informative)

    by Thowllly (529311) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @06:10PM (#23702895)

    There is a HUGE difference between "somehow able to communiate in English" and "being able to enjoying an english piece of media"
    Yeah, but probably not the way you think... It's much easier to learn enough to understand a language, than it is to communicate in it.
  • Re:which state? (Score:3, Informative)

    by FST777 (913657) <frans-janNO@SPAMvan-steenbeek.net> on Sunday June 08, 2008 @07:18PM (#23703379) Homepage
    Because the Brits do the same with "Holland" and "the Netherlands"...
  • Re:which state? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:05AM (#23706025)

    I just use them as various words for the same thing
    This won't make you popular with someone not from England, though English people generally won't care.

    UK = England + Wales + Scotland + Northern Ireland
    GB = Old fashioned term for England + Wales + Scotland
    England = England
    Commonwealth = lots of former colonies + UK

    So you'd generally be safe using the UK where you would normally say 'England'.
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:4, Informative)

    by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:16AM (#23706101) Homepage
    I don't say it's a valid source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolpda/ifs_news/hi/newsid_4442000/4442988.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • Re:which state? (Score:3, Informative)

    by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:26AM (#23706143)
    England = England
    great Britain = physically connected countries = England + Wales + Scotland
    United Kingdom = England + Scotland + Wales + Northen Ireland
    commonwealth = all the places we conquered (Australia, etc)

    generally though nobody really notices the distinction between the 1st three even though the difference between GB/UK and England is becoming significant as Scotland gains more independence
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wheely (2500) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:35AM (#23706185)
    Please check your history. England was one of the first European countries to abolish slavery. THe principles of which were set in 1772. The slave trade did, however, continue particularly in the west indies despite a growing ant-slavery movement. These abolitionists even started buying large tracts of Africa in order to create free areas where potential slaves would be safe.

    The British completely outlawed the slave trade anywhere in the British Empire in 1807 under the punishment of death and also took action against African leaders who refused to accept the abolition.
  • Re:which state? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ozamosi (615254) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:39AM (#23706215) Homepage
    This [map-of-netherlands.co.uk] is the Netherlands. To the left, note "Noord-Holland" and "Zuid-Holland".
  • Re:Where to begin!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chrisje (471362) on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:10AM (#23706369)
    I second that motion. In Europe, the Governmental banks had to intervene in order to keep the same crisis from hitting the EU. Slowly but surely, the US mantra of "the market will fix anything" is eroding. It just goes to show that you need a fair bit of regulation in the financial sector (as in any sector) because the market will ultimately fall victim to stupid greed and short term thinking.

    The funny thing is that TFA also mentions an interesting tidbit which is preposterous:

    "We're seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere"

    Now I've worked for HP for the past twelve years. I assume everyone knows that HP is from Palo Alto originally, and a very, very solid American company. Now since 1996 already the EMEA region has been responsible for 42% or more of the total HP revenue in the world, followed by The Americas and then APJ. Since China and India are ramping up economically, it wouldn't surprise me if the US is now competing for that second spot with the APJ region.

    This notion is not just something that lives inside of large corporations like HP, but can easily be verified on Da Innerweb. If you add up the Gross National Product of member-state countries of the EU from numbers you find on CIA World Factbook, or if you simply look at wikis or reports on this, you will see that the EU has a GDP that is 15% higher than the US. Now since the US are ~300 million and the EU are ~400 million people, the GDP per capita is still a bit lower than the US', but this is also due to the fact that the newer member states such as Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia are all former Warsaw Pact members who still have a bit of growing to de economically.

    To cut a long story short, in 2006 the EU was already putting more value out there than the US. And the decreasing value of the Dollar might be good for the US' export position, but the bottom line is that the US are no longer the biggest market on the planet. It hasn't been. For years.
  • Re:which state? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:32AM (#23706509)

    It's not intended as a slight against the Scots, the Irish or the Welsh, but it's merely the convention.
    Northern Irish thank you, the majority of the Irish are not in the UK
  • Nintendo (Score:1, Informative)

    by PeolesDru (535625) on Monday June 09, 2008 @07:38AM (#23707423) Homepage
    I thought for shits and grins I'd talk about, you know, Nintendo - since the article is about Nintendo. I think it's just stupid. I saw an advertisement for the Fit the other day on television. Why waste money advertising? They're effectively not being sold in the US. If anything, the advertisement was a boon to all of the scalpers who are selling them for $170 on eBay, Amazon, etc. Nintendo could be selling them for $150 apeice easily. I find it hard to buy the argument that Nintendo is savvily going where the profit is, when they waste money advertising their unobtainable product, and no doubt piss off vendors like Walmart and Target (and others) who have dedicated shelf space to this non-existent item.
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doctor Faustus (127273) <Slashdot@nosPAm.WilliamCleveland.Org> on Monday June 09, 2008 @11:26AM (#23710021) Homepage
    I forgive you, considering your other way-off statements so far. Communists HAD taken over Vietnam, and had MASSIVE backing from the population.
    Even that's too charitable to us Americans. The Vietnamese took over Vietnam, needed to pick a government and economic system, and picked communism. As I understand it, it was more about ending colonialism (French) than establishing communism to them.
  • Re:Oh the humanity (Score:3, Informative)

    by glgraca (105308) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:15PM (#23711917)
    Just as in the Iraq war, the threat in Vietnam was contrived. The Vietnamese were seeking independence from France and actually sought help from the US. The US on the other hand, was afraid of losing the French to the USSR, because De Gaulle threatened to switch sides and join the communists (and the US couldn't see through this stupid bluff). So the US went along and helped the French, and when the French saw they could not win, they left the US with a war against a people who should have been their ally to begin with. How stupid can it be for "The Land of the Free" to aid France (Liberté, ectera, ectera...) in a colonial war?? Lots more juicy details can be had in Barbara Tchumann's excellent "The March of Folly".
  • Re:Where to begin!? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @07:10PM (#23717187)
    So a 67% larger population pool but only a 6,5% larger economy. Time to step out of that reality distortion field?

    Typical American: low reading and comprehension skills, way too much aggression. As Chrisje wrote:

    [Europe's relatively low GDP per capita] is also due to the fact that the newer member states such as Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia are all former Warsaw Pact members who still have a bit of growing to de economically.
    We can add Hungary to the list of former Warsaw Pact countries now in the EU. These countries total almost 100 million people whose standard living is far below the EU average. That is one reason why the EU's per capita is still slightly low -- as Chrisje noted and you failed to understand.

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