I was planning on writing a long diatribe about why the Nintendo Wii shortage conspiracy theories make no sense, but while googling up some research I discovered that someone already said pretty much everything I was going to, and better than I ever could. Read his editorial "Why the Wii Shortage is Legit
" and suck up some logic, bitches.
Seriously, the Wii has been out for 13 months now, and it had a huge buzz attached to it even before launch. It was all over the media thanks to the unique controller, low price point, and accessibility to non-gamers. People saw it and were intrigued. This is what caused the initial demand last year, and Nintendo's production simply hasn't been able to keep up. This is because Nintendo didn't predict how popular the Wii would be, and they were too conservative in increasing their production. It takes an months to create a new facility as well as a large expenditure of money, and there was no guarantee these new plants would even be needed by the time they went online. So they cranked up production as much as they could in their existing plants rather than potentially get burned with an excess of units down the road. Looks like they erred on the side of caution.
Nintendo doesn't need to build any more hype, what it needs to do is get systems out to customers while the hype is still there. If they actually were holding back systems, the time to start getting them out there would have been late November, with the release of Super Mario Galaxy and the start of the holiday shopping season. Right now, professional guess-makers are theorizing Nintendo stands to forfeit over $1 billion in lost sales
this Christmas. It's completely ludicrous to think any company would give up certain sales just to try to saddle something as unpredictable and chaotic as consumer hype. Just like Tickle Me Elmo and Cabbage Patch Dolls before it, the main reason people are trying to find a Wii right now is because their kids want one, not because "it's hard to find". Making people want your product does you no good if they can't actually buy it from you.