Monday, September 25, 2006

1 million Wii consoles for North American launch

Nintendo has allocated one million Wii units for the North American launch, Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada's vice-president and general manager, told Mackenzie Investments:

"We're looking at a million for North America at launch. (...) If we get what we're supposed to get, this will be our most plentiful launch in the 15 years I've been at Nintendo. All signs are actually extremely positive."

Wii will outsell PS3 in the launch window

The one million Wii consoles compare with 400.000 PS3 units Sony promised to make available at launch in that region (in the article, Bertram erroneously mentions only 300.000). So if you play the numbers game (and knowing that launch shipments always sell out within days), this pretty much guarantees that Wii will sell more units than PS3 in the launch window.

The same will be true of the other territories. In Japan, Sony will only launch with 100.000 units, while Nintendo is almost certain to have a multitude of that number available. And in Europe, PS3 won´t be available until March next year.

So, as long as the initial demand that exists for any console at launch is sustained, Wii will outsell PS3. It really is as simple as that. Nintendo simply has far bigger shipments for their launch in every one of the three territories.

Level playing field no earlier than March

The question is, of course, what the picture will look like once both consoles become readily available and consumers have got a real choice of picking up either the one or the other. Only then will a level playing field emerge. PS3 may start to outsell Wii and could easily catch up a lead of, say, one or two million consoles (which seems realistic, looking at these figures).

Yet there are further questions here: When will that point be reached? And what may have happened until then? First, Sony most likely won´t reach that point until after March, since most consoles manufactured between Christmas and then will be allocated to support the European launch. And here is the biggest question of them all: will Nintendo´s headstart - until there is a level playing field - be enough to convince publishers that Wii will continue to sell?

Xbox360 may become Wii´s real competitor

In my mind, beating the notoriuosly difficult to manufacture PS3 is no great acclaim in the launch window. This will happen. Publishers know this. The answer to the big question has more to do with the Xbox360 than the PS3. Microsoft have had their console available for a year now, so they have already created a level playing field for themselves. If Wii can catch up with the Xbox360, then publishers will be greatly impressed, I am sure, and may start to switch their allegiances as they stand now.

However, this is, again, a simple numbers game. Microsoft has sold around five million Xbox360 consoles. And it will take Nintendo at least until March at the very earliest to catch up with that number. If Microsoft actually do reduce their prices, this will become so much harder to achieve.

I am sure that we will not start to see a winner emerge until well after March. Until then, the preliminary winner is Microsoft.

EDIT I have rounded up other sites´ commentary on this topic for you.

While a plentiful supply is good news for people that want to wait til the last minute without paying top dollar on eBay, leftover units on November 20th may give the Wii negative light after the scarce 360s of Holiday 2005 and the near certain PS3 sellout (due to very limited supply).
Wiiloaded blog

It would actually be nice to be able to stroll into a store and pick one of these things up without a pre-order, and a million units at launch would be a big step in that direction. No one wants to repeat the Xbox 360 launch shortages that plagued gamers last year.

As many know, it’s one thing to have a million consoles, but another thing to actually sell a million consoles. While the 400,000 PS3s will most likely sell out to the loyal Sony fans on the first day of launch, Nintendo might have difficulties convincing the general gamers to get a Wii at launch.

The confident statement from Bertram echoes UK general manager David Yarnton's belief in a strong launch for the Wii in Europe, who stated last week that he expected to see "more stock than we've ever had."
EuroGamer & Games Industry

Comparatively, Sony holds the record of the largest North American console launch with 500,000 PlayStation 2 units sold on October 26, 2000. The PlayStation 2 also suffered shortages due to hardware difficulties, graphics synthesizer hardware to be precise, in a backorder that lasted until 2001.
The Wiire

One million. This figure might be the magic number, the allocation so that gamers can obtain one within reasonable difficulty, and yet still be in enough short supply to ensure the image of "must-have" hot holiday item. Our fangs hearts tingle in anticipation.
Nintendo Wii Fanboy

Source: Mackenzie Investments
Thanks to: DigitalBattle, Joystiq


Falafelkid said...

Hi Patrick

Falafelkid, now that there is less and less to speculate about pertaining to the Wii itself, what is going to change or stay the same with this blog of yours as we appraoch the Wii launch?

Allow me to answer here, since it´s the most recent post. Well, I myself am not sure which direction this blog will take.

Of course, I am very interested in just how my predictions turn out (see this post for starters). Pure speculation aside, I have been dead-on with a number of predictions and I have been way off with a few others. So I´ll be watching that with interest and commenting on the console´s progress.

Of course, games are a big part of that. Come next year, I may be in a better position to bring you news about upcoming games well in advance. That´s an important aspect of what this blog will be about.

Additonally, once Wii has found its market and become established, Nintendo might start hinting at new consoles to come. I am thinking especially about the GameBoy franchise here. This will be another topic to consider.

So I hope you stick around and, once again, it´s time to thank you to the thousands of visitors to this blog, who constructively add to it by commenting. Also, please stick around for today´s Live chat (see front page for exact time).

Blauw said...

It looks like Sony is giving almost everything away to the competitors. Nintendo is in a very good position at the moment.

Falafelkid said...

Hi Blauw.

It looks like Sony is giving almost everything away to the competitors. Nintendo is in a very good position at the moment.

Well, it´s perhaps not quite as clear cut, as the guest commentary I just posted proves. A number of sites are concerned that Nintendo may not be able to sell through that million units within a few days - and may end up looking like the console that is sitting on the shelves, while every PS3 that is delivered to a store hardly touches the ground.

I myself agreee with you: Nintendo is in a good position, but more units at launch potentially means more of a risk, as well.

Anonymous said...

I hope Uwe Boll will make a movie about your blog and the evil invasion that was THE IALS


Falafelkid said...


I hope Uwe Boll will make a movie about your blog and the evil invasion that was THE IALS

I guess it would be called ´Bullshit from Outer Space´. *lol*

Falafelkid said...

There actually is a movie about a pickle from outer space. needless to say. it bombed.

Anonymous said...

S'ny lied again and even Kojima did it:

PS 3 sucks clearly !!!

i dont think that the 360 is going to compete with the Wii , because most 360 owners will buy a Wii, i will do it definetaly !

pitendo said...

wii for the win dudes!!!

Grandmaster B said...

I hope Uwe Boll will make a movie about your blog and the evil invasion that was THE IALS


He doesnt even deserve the recognition. Wouldnt surprise me if IALS made this comment even.

Falafelkid said...

Hey Grandmaster.

He doesnt even deserve the recognition. Wouldnt surprise me if IALS made this comment even.

Who? ;)

Anonymous said...

Enough with the internet lingo! What the hells does

Falafelkid said...

Hi Anonymous.

Apparently, some browsers cannot process the HTML italicize tag and show "/* instead.

Grandmaster B said...

IALS heh. I was going to make it more clear but I didnt bother because I thought it was obvious.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why you keep comparing Wii with the PS3 and the Xbox360.

I seriously doubt the fact that they are competitors.
look at the DS vs PSP.
I dont think there are too much PSP-owners that once were in doubt what to buy. And as a DS-owner, i can say i never considered a PSP instead.

I figure the same thing will occur with Wii. A lot of people will buy one, just for the funfactor and the aura of simplicity. And a lot of hardcore gamers with PS3s or Xboxes360 might buy the Wii for that same reason. I don't think Wii will be seen as an alternative.

envy said...

Mr. Falafel please get yourself Pokemon and invite Grandmaster b to the party

some guy said...

I have to agree with the anonymous post above, I really don’t think that there are too many people out there stuck between buying a PS3 or Wii. They are targeted to completely different audiences.

Now I can see people deciding between a 360 and a PS3.

D-Bone said...


I wouldn't worry about extra boxes sitting on the shelves after launch day. It will actually be a good thing. November the 24th is going to need all of the Wii units it can get on the shelves.


Anonymous said...

Why are people so concerned with units being unsold? This doesn't happen to any other product. People don't think a certain refrigerator must suck if they go to the store and the refrigerator is in stuck. To the contrary, when I go to the store and something is sold out, I usually think less of the manufacturer for having poor planning. Why does the video game console industry get treated differently? Having Wii consoles on the shelves at all times is a good thing.

That said, I do think the initial Wii shipment will sell out. There are more than enough Nintendo fans, resellers, and parents who want a cheap gaming system for their kids, to make this happen.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say "in stock"...

Zooba said...

Hey Fal, did you get a chance to read the article in the link I sent you? They've updated the site, so the article is off the front page now, but it should be able to be found in the archives.

- Zooba

D-Bone said...


You can't really compare selling a refridgerator to selling a video game console. A refridgerator is a need, a game console is a want.

In order to sell someone a game console the seller has to convey the product to the consumer in such a way that they see it as a need.

People buy refridgerators because their old ones break down and they need new ones.

People buy game consoles because marketers make you think you need one.

Besides, people always want what they can't get. Isn't it funny how a few years ago people wanted to draw blood against each other for a tickle-me elmo.

With that said, systems occupying shelf space can only be a good thing for this holiday season. This system will sell on hype and word of mouth alone.

Sickr said...

Finally the game store that I work at has decided to allow staff and customers to lay down deposits for the Wii. I'm now safe in the knowledge that I have reserved myself a unit and also that Nintendo-Europe are set to distribute plentiful supplies of Wii hardware. Good news!


Falafelkid said...

Hi Anonym, hi Some Guy.

I kind of agree. It´s Nintendo´s plan to reach out to that blue ocean of non-gamers.

But remember that, while the DS did achieve this, it took some time for the system to start selling well. The first weeks made a lot of people feel that the system would not become a big success.

Similarly, I expect the Wii to do well with gamers only, at first. Early adopters usually are not casual or previously non-gamers.

So I do believe that, for the first few months at least, the Wii will compete with PS3 and Xbox360.

Grandmaster B said...

You can't really compare selling a refridgerator to selling a video game console. A refridgerator is a need, a game console is a want.

Not entirely true People buy refridgerators with other purchasing motives too. Such as interior design.

However a majority do purchase because they need them.

Falafelkid said...

Hey Sickr.

I'm now safe in the knowledge that I have reserved myself a unit and also that Nintendo-Europe are set to distribute plentiful supplies of Wii hardware. Good news!

Congrats, of course! But has the launch shipment for Europe been annuonced? I cannot remember hearing a figure for Europe...? Please help me out, if you have heard anything.

Anonymous said...

d-bone: Okay, replace "refrigerator" with "television" and my refrigerator analogy holds. And no, don't try to frame a television as a "need". It isn't. The point is that almost no other products are held to such a ridiculous standard of "it's only good if it's sold out."

Falafel: The difference between this launch and the DS launch is huge in my mind, because the gap in hype between the two systems is huge. With the DS, Nintendo had no idea if a unique input method coupled with lower graphical quality could be successful, so I don't think they wanted to frame the DS as the product that they were banking their success on. Now that Nintendo knows it can be successful, they're going all out on the Wii as far as marketing and focus. I think they're framing this launch to be huge. Also, you're right that usually gamers are the only early adopters, but don't forget the power of the holiday season and a relatively low price tag when it comes to parents doing Christmas shopping.