Wii mania

nintendo_wii_1.jpgFor the last two weeks the PS3 has outsold the Wii in Japan. Now a lot of this is down to Sony introducing a cheaper version of the PS3. But the biggest factor must be stock availability of the Wii. Nintendo just cannot make enough to keep up with worldwide demand. And with Super Mario Galaxy just out and being proclaimed by many as the best game ever that demand is just going to get worse.

wii-production-line.jpgThe last production figure that Nintendo released was 1.8 million units a month but, confusingly, they say they are shipping an extra 3.5 million units worldwide for christmas. Which could make a total of 7.1 million units over November and December. And they will easily sell them all.

The situation in the UK is close to manic. A lady I know put her name on several shop waiting lists and was finally only allowed to buy one if she bought six games at the same time! There are website that tell you of stock availability, but as soon as they say a retailer has some that retailer’s website crashes under the demand. Amazon sold 1,400 units in just ten minutes and secondhand Wiis fetch increasingly higher premiums on Ebay.

These are amazing times and they are the consequence of Nintendo making gaming fun for all the family instead of the niche demographic that video gaming has traditionally catered for. The annoying thing is that the industry could have made this massive leap years ago. But lacked the will and ability to do so.

Of course this represents a fantastic opportunity for game developers. But they cannot produce the games that they produced before. The audience and it’s expectations are different now. I have posted this development guide before and it is very relevant:
1) Don’t do shovelware. You are just damaging your brand(s).
2) Write Wii specific titles. Don’t port. You have to respect the interface difference.
3) Understand that most Wiis live in the lounge. And most other consoles live in the bedroom.
4) Polish, lots. Then polish some more.
5) Realise that you have to provide entertainment for the population at large. FPS titles are not a good idea.
6) You need to market completely differently. PR in women’s magazines will work a lot better than adverts in game magazines.
7) Talk to your wife/girlfriend. They understand the Wii better than you do.

It will be extremely interesting to see what happens after Christmas. Maybe the Wii is a seasonal gift item and sales will fall flat. Or maybe the release of system seller titles such as Wii Fit will keep the demand going.

So have you got yours yet?


  1. To be honest, Wii is currently wildly available in Japan where you can find it in most Japanese megastore (at least in the big cities).

    Also I live in Italy where you can find a Wii EVERYWHERE: in big chains shops, in small videogames stores etc.

    At least in these 2 nations I can guarantee you that it’s not a “quantity problem” 🙂

  2. Mattia is right. Finding a Wii in Japan is less of a crapshoot than it once was. You can usually find a few boxes stacked behind the counter at most stores (next to *bigger* stacks of PS3 boxes, I noticed!)

    I actually got mine last year just after release- a stroke of pure luck. I just asked at my local and usually unreliable Tsutaya if they had any, expecting the answer “no”, but the woman had a quick check in the stockroom and by Jove, they had one! I think stocks have been alright since a few months ago though.

    It’s the DS Lite, and specifically the special, new coloured ones that are still sold out everywhere. Regular old colours are still okay, but a few months ago you still had scenes of customers queueing up for the Friday delivery. Madness.

    Saturday is Wii Fit day in Japan. I’m curious to see if that will cause a run in the same way Mario Galay strangely didn’t (at all).

  3. This year there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of Nintendo Wii Consoles in stock for Christmas like there was last year. Most of the stores in the UK seem to have plenty in stock apart from the Wii Console and Wii Fit package deals. Plenty can be found at http://www.cheap-wii.co.uk if you’re in the UK.

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