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Why You Can't Find a Wii for Christmas 450

Nintendo is making Wii consoles at a record pace, some 1.8 million a month. Last week they sold 350,000 units. Yes, just last week. And yet, still, it's going to be almost impossible to find a Wii in a store this Christmas. Wired reports that the problem actually began back in August. Summer being the traditional 'dry' season in gaming usually leads to hardware surpluses, but not with Nintendo's console. The result is a holiday season that Nintendo essentially couldn't prepare for. "Demand for Wii is so high, says analyst Michael Pachter, because of all the different types of consumers competing for the units ... it's not just kids who crave Wii. [It's] an especially big hit at retirement homes ... Hard-core gamers, who initially spurned the Wii's lower graphic power compared to the Xbox and PlayStation 3, have changed their tune on the console, thanks to brilliant software like the first-person shooter Metroid Prime 3. And eBay scalpers? They really want Wii." In fact, the only reliable way to get your hands on a Wii is to go that most dubious of routes. Ebay Wii sales are very brisk indeed this week.
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Why You Can't Find a Wii for Christmas

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  • The math? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by halcyon1234 ( 834388 ) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:24PM (#21519165) Journal

    350,000 sold x 4 (weeks per month) = 1.4million sold per month

    They make 1.8 million a month.

    If they're making more than they're selling, why is it so hard to find a console?

  • Re:The math? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MagusZeal ( 1156955 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:26PM (#21519203)
    I'd assume that's worldwide production and the sales figure is US.
  • by Marx_Mrvelous ( 532372 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:52PM (#21519673) Homepage
    You're wrong about one key point; they are not creating an artificial demand. They are running at full capacity and believe me, they'd sell more if they could. Maybe last year you could make this claim, but they are losing sales to MS and Sony because they can't keep units stocked. It's a nice conspiracy theory, but like most, only sounds good when you don't apply logic or look deeply into the issues :) Throw in a Sheeple, and you're 90% troll! (And Maybe I just got trolled!)
  • Not Indicative (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JamesRose ( 1062530 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:01PM (#21519829)
    Look, 1.8million made 1/3 go to US, so 600 000 in the US, 150 000 A week in the US

    350 000 sold last week

    Now, think about that, if every week they sold 350 000, and they only made 150 000, how did they find the extra 200 000.

    Two answers- either they have a stockpile (not likely considering stores have been empty for almsot a year) - OR - they DIDN'T sell 350 000 units in the previous weeks.

    Now, could we in future post articles which aren't based on freak statistics and make out those results are normal.
  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:06PM (#21519911)
    Right. It couldn't be because the Wii is fun.
  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:14PM (#21520045)
    Increasing production beyond the current point would require setting up new assembly lines. That's a big investment, especially if you have to worry about sales going down soon (the Wii is already being made at the highest rate a console was made at, going further is risky).
  • Re:Not Indicative (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phisbut ( 761268 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:34PM (#21520355)

    Two answers- either they have a stockpile (not likely considering stores have been empty for almsot a year) - OR - they DIDN'T sell 350 000 units in the previous weeks.

    Or maybe, just maybe, Nintendo knows November is a great month in North-America compared to Europe or Japan, and they decided to ship a little more to the US and a little less everywhere else for that month. I think the US is about the only (big) country to massively buy and give gifts in November, most of the world waits till December.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:42PM (#21520515) Homepage
    Ever since the Wii came out, Sony, etc. have always been saying "it's all hype, it will go away in a few months."

    I remember a Slasdot story about 4 months ago that basically said the Wii had peaked, that all the non-gamers that wanted one had bought it already, and it was sitting unused, while the gamers did not want one.

    What crap.

    Sony etc. are still caught in the "better chip/video, at any cost" model. Nintendo got it right, the video is more than good enough at the low end. It will take another revolution in video quality to make the best chips worth it again. For now, better games and better controllers are where it is at.

  • Re:eBay Effect (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AlphaDrake ( 1104357 ) * on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:08PM (#21520995) Homepage
    Some of the stores that focus on gaming (EB Games) may not want that kind of reputation. But those that don't focus souly on games don't really care. Bestbuy (Have friends there), Blockbuster (where I got mine when I worked there), Toys-R-Us (another friend got his there then quit), and others. I don't quite agree with the selling online for an inflated price part, but getting paid low wages for a job like that, you can't blame employees for getting a perk like buying one for themselves before they are open to the public.
  • by scot4875 ( 542869 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:28PM (#21522357) Homepage
    Yeah, because it was such a *bad* thing that they tried to reign in developers so that we wouldn't have another Atari-esque debacle, with a deluge of terrible uninspired games to bury the few gems in a confusing mess that caused that whole video game crash thing.

    And yeah, telling developers that they could only release X number of titles per year was such an awful thing, because then it forced them to at least *try* to make a quality product, rather than assigning a single programmer the task of creating a video game -- and giving him a couple weeks to do it before it shipped. (ET anyone?)

    As for censorship, the only 2 titles I know of that Nintendo actively censored were Mortal Kombat and Wolfenstein 3D. In the NES era there were pictures of Hitler's exploding head, implied sex, and plenty of other stuff. By the end of the SNES era, the blood was right back in MK2. And honestly I can't fault Nintendo for trying to avoid controversy with parents/religious groups because we all know how much worse those people are than some idiot gamers whining that they can't see blood or nazi symbols.

    Their tactics were definitely heavy-handed, but you failed to mention the *one* thing that they really should be called on, and that was their dealing with retailers. They did everything they could to keep competitors products off the shelves.

    And give an example of Nintendo being "bad" now...? Yeah, they shut down some pirate sites. That doesn't seem to bad to me. Yeah, they did go after some flash cart makers, and while that definitely sucks, the flash carts were primarily being sold as a piracy tool (spare me the homebrew argument, I know it all and that's why I think it sucks that they were shut down) so I can't really fault them for that.

    Here's what Nintendo hasn't done: they haven't paid off developers for exclusives. They haven't sold consoles at a loss to try to buy their way into a new market. They haven't completely sold out and commercialized every aspect of my favorite hobby. They didn't help EA become the behemoth it is by helping them sell millions of cheap disc-based copies of Madden every year to idiot frat boys. They also haven't ever insulted me by saying that I should be willing to go take a second job to afford their game console, or reneged on a "$1200 per PS3 in the wild" deal made by one of their top execs. They've never released misleading hardware specifications (60 million! polygons per second! (unlit, untextured, single-pixel triangles on a single triangle strip)) or reported consoles/games shipped rather than sold.

    So yeah, I'll defend them as one of the good guys. I can overlook some poor decisions in the 90s and a couple anticompetitive practices from the 80s. Besides, Sony is the poor decision maker lately, and Microsoft has a whole history of anticompetitive practices that continue today.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:30PM (#21522393) Homepage
    Is because of Super Mario Galaxy. It's quite possibly the best Nintendo has come up with in ages, and it's selling consoles on the double by itself. In the last four weeks (according to vgchartz.com), the Wii has sold 280k, 265k, 435k, 640k units world wide. Add that up for a total of 1620k units in a month. When we know they're producing 1800k units/month, that basicly means there's almost nothing being stockpiled for Christmas. And the console market just explodes by Christmas...
  • Re:The math? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:34PM (#21522439) Journal
    Your credence given to television news is just charmingly naïve. I really don't mean to come off as patronizing, but since when did parroting something that's so obviously bogus on its face make it into actual fact?
  • by Rallion ( 711805 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:40PM (#21522545) Journal
    I don't think the initial flurry of wiimote-powered titles was really anything to be proud of. The majority of them were rushed games that were little more than tech demos. Not even good tech demos. I think that the really good titles are still on the way. Nintendo's games (and a few others, like the RE4 port) prove that Red Steel is not a good example of what's possible on the system.

    As for worrying about Nintendo's ability to keep producing, well, I wouldn't. I've had some issues with a few of the more recent Zelda games (Mask, Waker and Hourglass all had a horrifying amount of repetition) their other franchises are still getting better and better, in my estimation.

    You can use the word 'rehash' but I think that's pretty unfair. What does it even mean? I always see it used in regards to things like the Mario series, which maintains a cast of characters and a tone, but each game brings something new to the table. People use the derogatoty word 'rehash' to describe this, whereas the same people have no such term for, say, the Halo series, where the gameplay of all three is nearly identical.

    I realize that there's probably not a single company in the world that reuses IP as much as Nintendo, but I can't help but think "bullshit" when I see or hear somebody comment that they don't want to play another game with Mario in it. Does that specific set of polygons and textures actually make the gameplay less fun for some people? I might as well say that I'm tired of playing games with AK-47's. Or, if you want to stick to the playable characters, soldiers.

    Two paragraph rant that hinges on a single word in original post: over.
  • by edwdig ( 47888 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:16PM (#21524819)
    Aside from Gran Turismo and maybe a couple of other games I'm forgetting, this is true. But it's a moot point since the PS2 has been out for seven years now.

    I did forget about Gran Turismo. But my point is Sony's been in the game industry for about 12 years now, but they've only started making much of a name for themselves in game development in the last 4 years or so. The PS3 not having much of interest doesn't help that out there either.

    That's a problem with second-party developers in general. Nintendo's Mario Party games, for example, are done by Hudson Soft, a subsidiary of Konami and therefore not really a second party. Most people would say that Mario Party is a second-party game, however, due to the license.

    I think the only second party to ever get much attention was Rare. I hadn't realized Mario Party wasn't done in house by Nintendo. I don't know what you'd call that relationship. Nintendo's done that a lot lately though - GBC/GBA Zeldas, GameCube/Arcade F-Zero, arcade Mario Kart. Second party usually means a developer that has an exclusive relationship with the console maker. Hudson & Nintendo don't fall into that category.

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