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Wii Shortage?

The Wii fan base is in full swing right now, with the system selling for $400 or $500 on eBay. It’s great to be the maker of the must-have gift this year, but Nintendo executives are rightfully bemoaning the missed opportunities the shortage is creating.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime recently said that the high demand is keeping the company from its goal of selling the Wii to non-traditional gamers, such as women and 40- and 50-year olds who aren’t video game fans.

“They aren’t going to sleep outside of a store overnight or visit a retailer five or six times,” he said. “It is literally a missed opportunity.” 

Fils-Aime was more critical in another interview: “A shortage benefits no one,” he said. “We’re disappointed. This was all about how we didn’t accurately estimate demand. We need to be more bullish about the potential for the Wii.” 

So there it is. Nintendo didn’t have enough faith in its own system, and is paying the price this holiday. The company is cranking out 1.8 million consoles per month and says it simply can’t produce any faster. CEO Satoru Iwata has said that one bottleneck after another keeps popping up on the production line, and that slows everything down.

It’s a huge misstep, with Microsoft and Sony happy to provide an alternative for frustrated parents who can’t find a Wii. Sony CEO Howard Stringer is practically gloating these days. “It’s a little fortuitous that the Wii is running out of hardware,” he said recently.

The Nintendo Wii is currently the highest selling ‘next-generation’ console. It outsold Microsoft’s Xbox 360 just a few weeks ago. Under different circumstances, this would be a time to celebrate right before the holidays. With Nintendo not being able to produce enough systems for potential customers, they are losing out, and are instead upset.


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