My aunt & uncle run a Mom & Pop store, "The Gamecube Hut", and sold 80k WiiU within minutes of opening.
Ms. Beattie is a real American Hero.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
December 14, 2007
A Year Later, the Same Scene: Long Lines for the Elusive Wii
By MATT RICHTEL
SAN FRANCISCO Linda Beattie is trying desperately to pay Nintendo $250, but the company is not cooperating.
Two weeks ago, Ms. Beattie went to a video game retailer in the Bay Area in search of a Wii, Nintendos intensely popular video game machine. She timed her visit to correspond with the arrival of a U.P.S. truck that she had heard would be making its regular stop at the store, hoping it might deliver some consoles. She was out of luck.
So Ms. Beattie, 44, a permit expediter and not a stalker by trade, followed the truck to the next store, where it did drop off a handful of Wiis. She bought one, but store policy would not let her buy a second for a friend, so she quickly called him.
He came from another game store that he was staking out, Ms. Beattie said. He got there two minutes too late to buy the last one.
The Wii, with an unusual remote control that players wave to manipulate action on the screen, has attracted a broad, unconventional following from young children to mothers and even the elderly. It has put to shame the frenzy over another much-hyped gadget, the iPhone, which prompted long lines at its debut in June but was readily available on store shelves the next day.
The demand for the console has prompted creative buying strategies, early-morning camp outs and recrimination against Nintendo for failing to produce enough machines a full year after the products release.
The unsated demand is costing Nintendo more than face. Estimates from industry analysts and retailers indicate that the company, which is based in Kyoto, Japan, is giving up $1 billion or more in sales [editor: Holy fuck! That amounts to 4 million Wii!] in the ever-important holiday retail season, not including sales of games for those unbuilt consoles.
Its staggering, said James Lin, senior analyst at the MDB Capital Group in Santa Monica, Calif., who estimates that Nintendo is leaving $1.3 billion on the table. They could easily sell double what theyre selling.
Between the Wiis debut last November and this Sept. 30, Nintendo sold 13.1 million consoles. It ships 1.8 million a month worldwide a third of those to North America up from one million a month earlier this year.
When it comes to its planning, Nintendo says it has not done anything wrong.
Its a good problem to have, Mr. Harrison said of the demand, but he acknowledged that there could be a downside. We do worry about not satisfying consumers and that they will drift to a competitors system.
At the Nintendo World store in Manhattan, which receives daily shipments, shoppers line up on the sidewalk every morning for their shot at buying a Wii. There is a vibrant secondary market, with scalpers reselling consoles in store parking lots and online.
And while some people say they will keep searching for a Wii, others are giving up.
Im frustrated and Im not going to try anymore, said Betty Sapien, a San Francisco homemaker, who recently visited a handful of stores, including Best Buy and GameStop, to buy a system for her 9-year-old daughter. They should have it well supplied. They know its going to be a big Christmas present, and its been a year [editor: That's right, Betty. Nintendo's doing it to spite you!] since it went on sale, she said.
Another shopper, Yvette Marchand, a Bay Area elementary school teacher, said, Im not proud of this, spending two hours running from store to store. She spoke as she was standing last week outside of a GameStop. She said she had been to several stores, like Best Buy, where she arrived at 7 a.m. on a Sunday too late to get a console, because others had lined up at 5 a.m.
Ive also been to Target, she said, but when she asked for a Wii, she felt like the employees were mocking her. Ive received the smirks and the laughs." [editor: I'm looking at you, AlteredBeast]
The GameStop chain, which accounts for around 23 percent of video game sales in the United States, said it could double or triple its Wii sales if the shelves in its 3,800 North American stores were fully stocked.
Bob McKenzie, senior vice president for merchandising at GameStop, said the company had stopped telling its stores when to expect their weekly Wii shipments. When word gets out about a delivery date, he said, then people start doing crazy things, like putting up pup tents.
In front of some retailers like Best Buy, where people have lined up to buy a Wii, the lucky few who manage to get one offer to resell them at a premium to those too far back in the line.
Colin Sebastian, an industry analyst with Lazard Capital Markets, said that on eBay, around 86,000 had been offered for sale since Dec. 4, with the average selling price about $320, 28 percent higher than the retail price.
Ms. Beattie, the truck chaser, said she and her friends, all in or near their 40s, have made the Wii a central part of their social time.
We used to play poker, she said. Now we have Wii parties. Because shes self-employed, Ms. Beattie has continued to hunt for Wiis for her friends who have less flexibility at work: They cant leave their job when the U.P.S. truck comes.