An also-ran in the 2006 holiday season, video game maker Nintendo is now leading the pack and, as reported previously, cannot make enough of its white-hot Wii console to satisfy demand. But Nintendo's success isn't just limited to the Wii, and this week the company announced plans to at least belatedly get consoles into the hands of everyone who wants one.
According to market researchers at NPD, the best-selling video game device of the year is indeed from Nintendo, but it isn't the Wii: Instead, the company's handled Nintendo DS Lite portable video game system has outsold all traditional consoles and handheld video game devices this year, racking up 1.5 million units sold in November alone. Retailers report that supplies of this device are quickly being snapped up.
The Wii was the second best-selling video game device in November, with 980,000 units sold, compared to 770,000 units for the Microsoft Xbox 360, 567,000 for the Sony PSP, another portable video game device, 496,000 for the Sony PlayStation 2, and 466,000 units for the Sony PlayStation 3.
Meanwhile, in a bid to maximize sales, some retailers are offering Nintendo's hard-to-find Wii device only as part of a higher-price bundle. Though the Wii sells for $250 by itself, some of these bundles cost $500 or more. Nintendo has informed these retailers that it does not approve of this practice: If these retailers are hoping to sell more Wii consoles in the future, Nintendo says, they're going to want to reevaluate their bundling policies.
Oddly, the Wii's success has caused some unforeseen problems for Nintendo, which is finding it difficult to determine how fast it must manufacture the devices going forward. If Nintendo were to continue its torrid manufacturing pace into 2008--it's currently making almost 2 million Wii consoles a month--and demand drops off, it may be stuck with excess inventory. However, the company has yet to make enough consoles to meet demand.
And if you can't find a Wii in time for the holidays, Nintendo is teaming with electronics retailer GameStop to provide post-Christmas rainchecks. On December 20 and 21, GameStop will hand out rainchecks to hopeful Wii users with the promise of a console to come in January. Interested customers will pay only the normal price for the Wii, about $250. As with the Wii itself, however, these rainchecks are first-come, first-serve and are available only when supplies last.