Nintendo has once again captured the must-have holiday toy title as its new console, the Wii U, flies off shelves.
The Nintendo Wii U launched Sunday and has already sold out in Gamestops across the globe. Big box stores are also running low.
Nintendo of America's Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Scott Moffitt has some good news for Nintendo fans: he promises more Wii Us are on the way.
Most of those hot new consoles, however, are destined for the United States.
- Read about the new Wii Mini
A demanding public
Moffitt told Forbes in an interview that Nintendo is doing its best to keep up with demand for the product and will send out regular shipments during the holiday season.
"We want consumers to know upon launch they can go into their stores, and there will be new quantities available there to go in and buy," Moffitt said in the interview.
"There may be lines, and we do anticipate tremendous demand. We'll do our best to keep up with it, but there should be a great quantity available at launch."
Moffitt credited an aggressive pre-order campaign and a strong launch-day lineup of games for brisk sales so far.
Will there be enough Wii?
Nintendo announced it will be shipping 5.5 million Wii Us from launch day until March 31, the end of its fiscal year. Moffitt was shy to break down those numbers by region, but analysts have estimated between 1 million and 1.5 million Wii Us will be available in the U.S. this year.
Despite strong early sales, it's hard to tell how the Wii U will compare to the original Wii.
The successor to the Game Cube stormed sales charts when it first launched in November 2006. The Wii received the coveted position of hottest holiday gift and became one of the fastest selling consoles in history.
It was so popular, the Wii was nearly impossible to find in retail stores for the better part of two years after its launch.
Analyst Colin Sebastian told Gamerhub.tv he predicted the Wii U will sell between 3 million to 3.5 million units in the December quarter.
If that soothsaying proves true, then the Wii U should match the sales trajectory of its older brother. The Wii sold about 3.2 million units by the end of December 2006, according to Nintendo's own numbers.
What Wii learned last time
It looks like Nintendo learned a few lessons from its last console. This time around the Wii U should be a little easier to find.
First off, Nintendo has more stock this time. After a year on the market, the game maker sold about 5.8 million original Wiis.
This time, it's shipping 5.5 million Wii Us in the first four months of release. That should help keep up with demand.
Also, "core" gamers are probably a bit gun shy around Nintendo now. Though the Wii launched to much fanfare, it failed to produce many games that caught the attention of the hardcore audience.
Though the Wii U has caught the attention of families this holiday season, older gaming enthusiast who aren't Nintendo fans will probably take a wait-and-see approach until the big N releases games that grab them.
When it comes down to making money, it's all about the games. Most consoles (including the Wii U) are sold at a loss, as companies make up the revenue with game sales.
Nintendo is also in a tough position: it posted its first annual loss in company history earlier this year. Depending on how the Wii U preforms, it could make or break the company.
But it seems Nintendo is privy to its peril. It launched an impressive lineup of games including New Super Mario Bros. U, ZombiU, Madden NFL 13 and Assassin's Creed III.
With something for everyone, Nintendo just might turn its bottom line around.
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