The Nintendo Wii, the video game system with the paradigm-changing motion sensitive controller, was released in mid-November to long lines of eager customers and quick sold out. It is currently the end of April and unless you are willing to get up early and wait in line at a major retailer or pay an e-bay scalper’s premium it is still impossible to get a Wii. Some folks seem to think the Wii shortage could last until 2009!
I don’t believe there’s been any conspiracy on Nintendo’s part to limit supply. Rather, I think that the Wii is a runaway success because it appeals to a much larger audience than the traditional video game crowd.
Over the holidays, my darling wife and I got to play some Wii tennis at a party and we had so much fun (even though she thoroughly trounced me) that I’ve wanted a Wii ever since. Thing is, I haven’t owned a game system in 10 years (and even that was primarily for drunken college Goldeneye), and my wife has never been interested in video games. Heck, even senior citizens are getting into the Wii.
The sports games packaged with the system are a perfect selling point: because you swing the controller like a racket to play tennis, or imitate a bowling motion to roll the ball, the games are incredibly easy to jump in and play. The system is especially fun with multiple players; I loved being able to flail around foolishly and laugh while my wife destroyed me at tennis. For those of us with full time jobs and busy schedules, games that you can pick up for 20 minutes, have a great time, and put back down are prefect. And I drool over the thought of the recently released Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 for the Wii.
Nintendo has promised to increase production, and I would hope they could start to meet demand in the next few months. I’m not willing to pay 150% over retail on e-bay, and I’m not willing to get up at the crack of dawn to camp out in front of Target. But the day that I just happen to be in the store when Wiis are actually on the shelf…
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