The vidjagames giant is pulling its American commercial campaign for the Wii because… well, why spend money when the demand already is greater than the supply? Everyone wants one and nobody can get one, even though Nintendo’s cranking them out at full capacity.
There isn’t one in northern Ohio, I can attest to that.
In the midst of the drought, I’ve taken up a new hobby: Frustrating pony-tailed game store clerks. It’s fun to walk up to the counter and ask for three Wiis, please.
Friday night, I checked the local GameStop, EB Games, Babbages (all three are owned by the same company), two Wal-Marts, two Targets, and even Sears. There is not a single Wii to be found in a 25-mile radius.
A friend of mine who spends his life on eBay recently bought one and resold it for $420, a 68 percent markup. He’s bought and sold six that way this year, making an average $120 profit each time by selling them to co-workers and friends who can’t find them on store shelves.
Nintendo is shipping 1.8 million Wiis each month and they are being purchased instantly as Christmas approaches — outpacing both the XBox 360 (marginally) and the Playstation 2 (by miles).
In the U.S., the Wii has sold more than 9 million units since last December. Meanwhile, the Microsoft has capped the 7 million mark and Sony is putting all its admittedly deflated might into just getting across the 3 million line, according to VGChartz.
In the week after Thanksgiving alone, the Wii was king of the next-gen consoles, but the Nintendo DS continued to outsell everything — I mean everything — on the market:
But that’s where Nintendo’s shuffling its television spending now. The DS will get an even bigger boost.
So how long will it take for Wiis to be plentiful on store shelves?
Well, that’s pretty speculative, but with 290 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 110 million households, if a third of households want one — and that’s not asking much, considering the appeal — it could take another 20 or so months before the supply catches up with demand.