To Wii or Not to Wii, That Is the Question
December 26, 2006 6:48am CST
Holiday season is here, but the desired self-bought present for many gamers, a next-generation gaming console, isn't easy to find. Both Nintendo and Sony are short of Wiis and PS3s respectively and some analysts claim the shortage will go well into 2007, into spring 2007 that is. Reuters has published an analysis which has found most people have to cope with buying PlayStation 2s and Microsoft Xbox 360s, as next-generation consoles are snatched rapidly everywhere they sell. Apparently the manufacturers are announcing buyers through special memos a couple days beforehand, and shoppers rush to stand in line sometimes before the store opens to get their prized loot. American Technology Research analyst Paul-Jon McNealy said that since Sony shipment numbers include units in transit or in warehouses, the company's target of 1 million could translate to 600,000 to 800,000 units at retail by year end, reports Reuters in the analysis. He also claims that the PS3 will likely remain scarce through the June quarter. "They have to launch in Europe, and they're stretched," said McNealy. However, others think Sony is up to the challenge to balance its high demand / supply ratio. An executive of Sony Corp. said that the company has solved production issues with Blu-ray lasers and the company will be able to meet shipments goals of the blazing fast PlayStation 3 game console. If the company manages to ramp up manufacturing of the PS3, then it will not have to delay the launch of the console in Europe. "With the PS3 the bottleneck has been availability of blue lasers, but now production of those has been launched in volume. We did take time preparing ourselves, but as of today we have reached our target production rate. Based on projections for this year we will reach [the PS3 shipment targets]," said Ryoji Chubachi, Sony president and chief executive officer of the electronics business, in a briefing with reporters at its Tokyo headquarters, reports Reseller News web-site. I wouldn't believe it until it's done. According to NPD group, Sony sold around 195,000 PlayStation 3 game consoles throughout November in the U.S., whereas in Japan sales numbers were about 188,000, according to Media Create agency. If the numbers are correct, then the combined amount of PlayStation 3 shipped worldwide in November was around 383,000, significantly less than the 500k that Sony promised to make available for the launch on the first day. The cheaper and, some think, with better overall value Nintendo Wii is also going to be short on stocks until March 2007. "We get 1 or 2 every week to week and a half," said a weary Los Angeles GameStop employee. There are also increasing rumors that some PS3 users want to trade their powerful console with the cheaper but more popular Wii designed by Nintendo. GigaGamez searched craigslist.org for Austin, New York and San Francisco in order to verify if the rumors have any veraciousness to them. In their search of Austin, it turned up 6 total people wanted to trade their PS3 for a Wii. In New York City, there were 18 desired trades. In San Francisco, there were 48 different PS3 for Wii trades going on at that moment. Most of those trades were requesting a Wii plus cash difference, but there were occasional barters that will take a loss just to get their hands on the latest Nintendo console. Nintendo hopes to achieve its target of 4 million units sold until the end of the year and 6 million consoles until March 2007. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is also bidding to be the control hub of home entertainment. It already has a year's head start and by March 2007 will have sold 10 million units. The main focus of the Wii (pronounced We) in on user-friendly playability that appeals to gamers of all levels - including aging "greygamers" as they are called - and not just wealthy supergeeks in need of a real life. The system also is succeeding in its stated mission of reinvigorating current players, while attracting new ones. Every Wii system includes the five-game Wii Sports software, which is the talk of the Internet, featuring countless reports on how previously devout non-gamers have suddenly been converted via the amazing new way games are experienced using the system's remarkable controller. All in all, Sony's PS2, which has sold more than 106 million units globally, is expected to be a top seller this season.