Nintendo Wii unavailability: Sign of competance or incompetance?

So, the Wii will be two years old this November.

It is still difficult to find a new, in the box, Wii at the store for the listed price of $249.00.

Many would argue that this is a sign of the quality of the machine and the market demand for it. Others would argue that this is a sign that Nintendo is dropping the ball with the production of the machine.

Which is it?

I tend to think Nintendo is a genius. I find the Wii to be highly overrated, and would recommend to most gamers that they buy a Xbox 360 or even a PS3. By making the Wii hard to get, it has maintained the demand for it. I think if there was a flood of Wii’s to the market, the demand would actually drop and they would sell less. 2009 is not shaping up to be a great year for the Wii(what big games are coming out?).

By keeping the demand high and the supply limited, Nintendo will continue to win.

Am I wrong?

Mostly a US thing, I think.

Plenty of them stacked up here. Doesn’t mean you’ll get one midweek, but if you go on Sunday, you’re sure to get a set. Same with the Wii fit - a shipment of about 2 or 3 dozen is likely to be gone by Wednesday.

Of course, the Wii itself does retail for about $351 here.

They’ve been aided by a lack of competition. The PS3 is too expensive and the Xbox 360 has had severe reliability problems. How many households have a HDTV and the disposable income to buy a PS3 or Xbox 360?

Where are you? Japan?

Nintendo’s genius isn’t in its lack of availability of consoles. The unexpected demand has caused that. Nintendo’s genius is in the fact that they were not aiming for “gamers.” That subsection of the population is better served by the Xbox360 or PS3 (as you pointed out). Nintendo wanted to make a machine that is fun and appeals to a lot of people. It felt it was being squeezed out of the current market so it created a new market.

Personally, I think Nintendo is trying to make more consoles and not inflating a false demand. At this point in the console cycle, they would stand to make significantly more money by selling as many consoles as possible (at a profit no less). So Nintendo is essentially screwing up by not having the production numbers where they need to be.

-Hi Mahaloth!

YES!! Wii wasn’t made to appeal to gamers. Wii was made to appeal to non-gamers.

Senior citizens in nursing homes are able to go bowling without picking up a ball. That’s awesome! It keeps people active and interested and allows them to do things they might otherwise not be able to do. How many 90 year olds can pick up a 15 lb. bowling ball with one hand? That’s what makes the Wii so great.

I love my Wii. I look goofy playing something like Mario Kart on a regular console system because I move the controller up, down and all around like I’m driving. But, that’s the way the Wii is meant to be played.

I’ve read (sorry, I don’t remember where) that Nintendo was intentionally keeping the Wii supply down. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I sure do wish I could find Wii Fit!!

Just a total WAG, but Christmas is coming. Could they be holding back a bit so they can stock shelves come the holidays?

I thought the Wii shortage was pretty much over. Has it recently become scarce again? I checked on eBay a little over a year ago, and they were selling pretty much at cost, plus a little shipping.

This argument simply doesn’t make sense. Nintendo is currently producing more Wiis than any other console in history, PS2 included. Even with the unprecedented production levels, they still can’t meet demand.


This isn’t some big conspiracy. The Wii is the single most in-demand video game console to ever exist. Nintendo themselves have admitted to being completely shocked by how popular the damn thing is. Nobody could have foreseen demand like this because demand like this simply didn’t exist before the Wii.

Nintendo has ramped up production since the Wii first launched, but they’re a small, conservative company who don’t want warehouses full of unsold Wii consoles lying around.

It really is just that popular.

I’d argue that they have some distribution problems, though, since there certainly isn’t any kind of shortage here in Japan. I could head to any of a dozen stores in my area and walk out with a Wii or a Wii Fit right now. I wasn’t really keeping track, but I think it’s been this way for at least a year.

I have the impression that Wii consoles have been fairly easy to find in Europe since the end of the Christmas rush last year; certainly they are widely available in these parts. At this point the difficulty in finding them really does seem to be a North American thing (which I know is small comfort to North Americans who can’t find one). If it’s either a conspiracy or a sign of massive incompetence, wouldn’t you expect the situation to be the same all over the world?

Re: their availability in the rest of the world.

I’ve read (sorry no cite) that it’s a result of the weak dollar. They’d rather have Wii consoles sitting on shelves in Europe, moving slowly but steadily off the shelves in exchange for those nice Euros than have that situation in the US.

Wii consoles are actually no longer rare beasts.

It will still be hard to walk into any random store and expect to find one, but it’s painfully easy to call around and find multiple stores in your area with several Wii consoles in stock.

And yes, there is still the “they’re selling out faster than any console has sold out before” thing. So relatively painless is not the same as easy.

That doesn’t mean they’re not selling though; the Wii has been, and continues to be, the #1 selling console in Japan, by a magnitude at least triple that of its closest competitor. Just because they can be found on store shelves doesn’t mean they’re not moving product on a very regular basis.

The Xbox 360 is $199 now for their cheapest model, which is $50 less than a Wii. And you don’t really need an HDTV to enjoy it or a PS3, although I admit it does help.

Indeed it was. :smiley:

I’m 90% certain that Nintendo had fairly well zero goal when they produced the Wii. As a desperate measure, they took all of the new “in” technologies that were floating around in Japan and packed them all into one device and threw it out there in the hope that someone would find a use for it.

Nintendo got REALLY lucky and that’s all there is to say about it.


From my perspective, mountains of evidence stand against you, from the initial line-up of games, to the marketing campaigns, to the interface. All coordinated and targeted with the focus of changing the game by appealing to non-gamers.

The Wii doesn’t directly compete with those two systems anyways. The 360 and PS3 have similar capabilities, and most games on the PS3* are also available on the 360. The Wii went in a completely different direction than those two systems.

*Sony totally screwed the pooch this generation. Sure they won the HD format wars, but its very telling that there’s still games being released on the PS2.

Not to mention the dozens of quote from Nintendo executives saying how they didn’t want to keep going in the hardware arms race and decided to focus on non-gamers.