updated 06:15 pm EST, Thu February 25, 2010
Wii back in high demand and outstrips supply
The Wii is back to a level where it's facing supply shortages, Nintendo of America chief Reggie Fils-Aimé revealed in an interview today. In the wake of record December sales of 3.8 million, the game console pioneer has been low on stock and now expects a drought of Wii systems until at least the end of March. The Balance Board attached to Wii Fit has also been in very low supply so far in 2010.
The situation was dire enough that Nintendo was "hand-to-mouth" and supplying the bare minimum amount of systems it needed during January, Fils-Aimé told the Financial Times. While the price drop to $200 and high profile games like New Super Mario Bros. Wii were expected to help, the December sales -- which represented almost 40 percent of Nintendo's units for all of 2009 -- were so high that it ultimately triggered a reverse problem where shortages created a seeming plunge in sales the next month.
"It obviously caught us a little bit off-guard," the Nintendo executive admitted.
While a temporary benefit to rivals Microsoft and Sony, the shortage is likely an indication of future problems for them as it hints at any closing of the numerical gap being reversed as soon as April. Since the Wii's 2006 launch, it has almost always outsold the more powerful but also more expensive PS3 and Xbox 360.