Monday, April 28, 2008

Wii & Fit : Shortage is Bliss

Here we go again.
One year and a half later, never tired of pretending unsolvable shortages (I emphasize on the “unsolvable”, like anyone’s still buying it these days), we’re getting another distress call from cool Nintendo of America’s President & COO Reginald Fils-Aime.

Pachter, from Wedbush Morgan, has an interesting explanation to this shortage issue.
He says that there’s not enough Wiis in the USA because the dollar is weak, and even selling trucks of Wiis doesn’t make as much money as it does when selling less of them elsewhere (this elsewhere most likely being Europe, home of the cash cows). Mr. Pachter believes that the European market will soon reach a point where it couldn’t absorb that many Wiis, and the excess will be redirected to the US.
Hmm, good.

Yes, the shortage is not a lie. However, the claim that these shortages were totally unexpected and can’t be corrected, 18 months later, is not really credible.

There are plenty of reasons why the product’s fine marketing balance (super juicy ROI) has to be maintained, which explain why Nintendo wouldn’t do something as stupid as actually meeting demand and then sell their consoles at cheaper prices than those of the competitors craving for more sales worldwide, then saturating the market and almost killing off their buzz machine in the process.

Maybe Reggie is genuinely pissed off about Mother Nintendo’s refusal to lay more units in the US, but really, doesn’t it make sense for the conservative house to act like this?
The Wii is not the best game seller out there apparently. The console sells a lot, but it appears that the new type of console buyers are not particularly loyal, a poor bet to boost games sales (oh the surprise)… hardcore players are not a problem here, as they’ll buy a lot of titles… well, only if titles there are.

So what’s better? Make the higher returns on console sales alone (including overpriced bundles and accessories), or sell more consoles at a lower price, lowering direct revenues, but planning on future games sales on the longer term (better attach rates than now)?

Well, the second option is going to be slightly hazardous at the moment, because some people, probably developers, seem to have a field day bashing the “plastic toy” when they’re asked about their opinions on the machine, which somehow fuels the current idea that behind the curtain, it’s not really such a successful console, as some of them seem more genuinely concerned about the algorithmic abilities of the machine than how much Wiiz Nintendo has sold throughout their whole carpet bombing campaign.

We remember Hecker’s rant at the GDC, which ended up, the next day or so, with the same man squealing in a big room full of Big N representatives, as he was forced to crawl with a big pain stick (wiimote) shoved up his arse, while begging for absolution for his sins.
Globally, this is not how the situation is seen from major publishers though, and frankly, if you want to make money at lower costs, the Wii’s rather a good choice.
Anyway, it’s not an elite’s secret that the newer and richer game catalogues aren’t found on the Wii, so it’s wise not to bet on unsure games sales.

Those explanations aside, you’d have thought that we’d be done with this. Shorter jokes are the best after all.

Well, apparently the farce seems to be so entertaining that it’s worth a spin-off… we’re going into Wii Fit shortages now.

“Sorry people, we couldn’t predict that our fadtastic interactive gaming balance would be such a success!”

Shortages of platform balances? …



That’s like saying there’s a shortage of doorknobs, toilets, toothpaste, cups or whatever mundane stuff you use at least twice a day.

But we all know the truth about the shortages.

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