Wii availability creates tourism boost in rural Japan, seashell art sales stable

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Nearly ten months in and still the Wii is only marginally easier to get hold of than rocking-horse manure. Having pre-ordered mine before launch, I had to be honest, pretty much stopped tracking their proliferation in stores, so I was thoroughly staggered when a friend in America told me the other day that she’s still never even seen one of the little fellas in real life. Whether an intentional holding back of stock or genuine failure to meet demand, that’s a pretty poor situation to have still occuring at this stage.

It strangely didn’t surprise me then, that the shortage of Wiis in the east has led to the sprouting up of a whole new tourist industry. Desperate would-be Wii owners in Hong Kong and Taiwan are now making the trip to Japan to go on Wii hunting trips, resulting in a boom for the more obscure countryside areas they’re often travelling to after reports of larger stock. Some stores are even reporting bulk orders from tour guides on behalf of their clients. It seems now is indeed the time to open that backwoods videogame store you always dreamt of building your retirement on.

It begs the question though, just how expensive are these consoles turning out to be by the time they get snugly installed back at home? Once flights and accommodation are factored in, Nintendo’s “budget” machine is going to be making the PS3 look like a halfway-decent deal. You could always look on them as a particularly cool vacation souvenir of course, but really, how much effort and money would you be willing to go through to get a Wii? 

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