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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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  • Re:The math? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bewmIES ( 251890 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:27PM (#21519207)
    Last week was an outlier -- Black Friday here in the US.
  • Bundle packs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RootsLINUX ( 854452 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `xunilstoor'> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:28PM (#21519235) Homepage
    I have resisted all "Wii bundle" deals that stores try to offer because I just don't like the idea of being forced to buy other things when all I want is a console. But now that the Wii has been out for an entire year and I have still yet to lay my eyes on an Wii unit in retail stores, I have surrendered myself to the thought. Fortunately my mother works at Costco so next shipment of Wiis they get, she will be buying one of the bundles for me (which I believe isn't too bad: wii unit, 2 controllers, 2 games of my choice, $340). Its nice to have someone close working in retail for times like these. :)
  • Hype (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:32PM (#21519285) Homepage Journal
    How is this news? It's advertising, a reminder that you should buy a Wii and buy it now, since it's still readily available and presumably won't be in a couple of weeks. That is, it won't be if the hype works like planned.
  • Re:eBay Effect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ack154 ( 591432 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:37PM (#21519389)
    Ya, there's something like 10k+ on eBay right now. Average selling price for just the console is over $400 plus probably $30-$40 shipping.

    I was hoping to find one or two to sell on eBay myself. But I have family and friends that I would find them for first since I know other people looking. I've been telling people to buy a bundle if they see one in a store - even the $700 Walmart bundle. At least that way they get some of the things they would buy eventually anyways and they're not paying any inflated prices.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:40PM (#21519471)
    No. I just think Nintendo have done far more to make fun interesting games than Microsoft or Sony have.

    Plus I've never bought a music CD protected by a Nintendo rootkit or stayed up into the small hours reinstalling Nintendo Windows XP on a relative's PC because of viruses and spyware. :-)

  • by sudnshok ( 136477 ) * on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:43PM (#21519531)
    When I decided to by mine, I just set up a script that checked Amazon every minute or two. I know they have sites that do that already, but there are hundreds of people signed up for the email notifications on those sites. I figured if I had my own script I might get a head start on those people - which paid off. I think I had my script running for only 3 days before I got my Wii. I'm sure many other slashdotters did the same.
  • Re:The math? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:54PM (#21519729)

    It's so hard to find one because so many people want one, they're a reasonable price (compared to the current generation of consoles), they're fun for the family, and they have less reclusive geek stigma attached to them compared to the PS3 or XBox 360.
    I'd say PC's have the reclusive geek stigma. 360's have tourettes fratboy stigma, and PS3 has sticker shock.
  • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:55PM (#21519745)
    The Wii is the fastest selling console in history, and is currently selling at about four times the rate of the Xbox 360. Is it that hard to believe that sales are genuinely exceeding expectations? Certainly at launch time, very few of the pundits or fanboys were seriously predicting sales of this magnitude. Also, Nintendo has been increasing production significantly - from 1M to 1.8M per month. That doesn't exactly lend credibility to your theory that the shortage is completely artificial.

    Besides, do you really think Nintendo was equipped to predict the Wii's popularity in new markets, such as retirement homes? I simply don't see any way that demand hasn't far exceeded Nintendo's expectations.

    An artificial shortage would only help Nintendo if it enabled them to sell more consoles in the long run or if it enabled them to jack up prices. They obviously aren't going to increase the price, so how might an artificial shortage still lead to increased sales in the long run? Earlier in the year, it would have been reasonable to say that they wanted to wait until there were some solid games out, but with the hype about Super Mario Galaxy, it seems pretty clear that that time is over. So, if Nintendo is capable of making significant production increases, why wait?
  • by ifrag ( 984323 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:58PM (#21519797)

    No. I just think Nintendo have done far more to make fun interesting games than Microsoft or Sony have.

    And rightly so. Microsoft and Sony are not known for having great 1st party titles and Nintendo is. On the other hand, take a look at the 3rd party titles, and you'll find there actually are good games in that basket for MS and Sony (including some cross platform). So Nintendo provides you with the hardware AND the titles and MS/Sony are just looking to license others to develop on their hardware.

    What I would be worried about is if Nintendo will be able to keep producing innovating and top tier titles, because it really doesn't seem like anyone else is. Granted, there were a flurry of titles partly due to the excitement over a new controller concept, but I think that is fading away now. How many times can Metroid, Zelda, and Smash Bros be rehashed?

  • How I got one (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:09PM (#21519977)
    I got one this summer at a FYE store in New England.

    My tactic was pretty simple: Ask all of the stores in my area what day of the week they typically get deliveries on. Then call each store on its standard delivery day (and the day after, if the shipment hadn't been unpacked when I called), asking if they had a Wii. It paid off in several months.

    I was probably also lucky that I wasn't doing this during the holiday season, otherwise the Wiis probably would have been all snapped up before I got there. But still, my approach may be worth a shot.

    P.S. It really is a lot of fun, especially for a casual gamer like me.
  • Re:The math? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:26PM (#21520217) Homepage
    It's a distribution problem. I live in Ottawa Canada. I could go downtown and buy 5 today if I wanted to, but I already have one, and I'm too lazy to sell them on eBay. There's a lot of places they can't be found but there's a lot of places they can easily be found. However, the distribution problem isn't the easiest one to solve, especially when shops want to have them on the shelves. It could work if they were ordered by demand, from a single source, but things don't work that way. They are manufactured, shipped out to a bunch of distributors, who ship to resellers, or other distributors, and eventually it gets to the end buyer. It's hard to make sure everyone has only as many as they are actually selling with a system like that.
  • Re:The math? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by achilles777033 ( 1090811 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:26PM (#21520225)
    'black friday' is supposed to be the biggest 'shopping' day of the year, not 'spending' day.
    from my limited experience in retail (3 years, then i ran away to college), the day after thanksgiving is about the worst, if not THE worst day to work. the customers don't necessarily spend more, but they expect these fabulous deals and pitch a fit if they don't find them, (and often leave, if you can't deliver), and are generally annoying all day long.
    the weekend before Xmas is the day that things aren't on sale, cause everyone is desperate for some sort of gift, and they don't care what it costs.

    I've never heard of the whole red-to-black profit BS that snopes is quoting as an explanation of 'black friday'. At least for the retail employees (rather than management), it's all about the less-than-pleasant customers on that day.
  • Re:The math? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:38PM (#21520421) Journal
    Please, please, please: learn to be wary of overgeneralization.

    The Wii isn't sold in every type of store in existence (ex: grocery, automotive), and thus, using a general statistic that covers every store is at least as invalid. The people who I talked to (and considered) at least worked at stores that would sell video game consoles.

    So, we have right demographic, and judgments based on numbers, vs. right demographic offset by wrong demographic, based on numbers.

    Both conclusions have their flawed points. In the case of this discussion (as it pertains to the Wii), I think we can safely say a third metric - a survey of all the stores that sell video game consoles would be more relevant than either of the two, not being limited to couple of chains/classifications, and not bringing in data irrelevant to the case at hand. Why don't you go busy yourself with that one?
  • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @01:51PM (#21520677) Homepage Journal
    I actually created a script that checked and regexed this Canada Wii online inventory scraper [] every minute (on a cron) and emailed me when it found one (and I set my email to check every minute). Took about a week, but I managed to get one from the Best Buy online store in the ~15 minutes they were in stock.

    Unfortunately the page appears to be broken but if someone would like me to code a replacement I could probably do that for a reasonable fee (I mean, I already have one) and have it email you instead.

    If you know how to code this is a decent way of finding a Wii for retail prices.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ang31us ( 1132361 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:11PM (#21521053) Homepage
    I stood in line in front of the ToysRUs in Times Square from 12 noon to 12 midnight on launch day. Friends joined me and we picked up one for me, one for my brother, and one for a friend of mine. Worth every last minute of time and energy. I loved the crowd of Nintendo fanboys and fangirls; really awesome was a good time except for the asshole who cut the line near me. I was pissed and giving him a hard time until one of the guys behind me made him PAY him to cut the line BEHIND ME -- then we reported him to ToysRUs security anyway -- I was not going to get into a fight and arrested when my goal was to land my Wii.
  • by Autumnmist ( 80543 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:41PM (#21521545)
    Thanksgiving this year was hysterical for me. I sat there watching my extended family gathering around the Wii like they were in a Nintendo commercial. I got *scolded* for forgetting to bring Wii Sports (had Rayman and Wii Play with me though). Even my grandmother was getting into the game, mumbling things about the players currently at the controls. I have now been charged with bringing home extra controllers from school so that we can have 4 player at Christmas.

System checkpoint complete.