Wii success making component suppliers rich

Nintendo sources Wii components from a variety of third parties.

The dominance of Nintendo's Wii in the console market has been well documented as the company rides high on a wave of unprecedented profitability and popularity, but what of the other companies involved in the gaming phenom's success?

It's well known that one of the cornerstones of the house that Wii built is the motion-sensing Wiimote controller; considerably less so that sizeable chunks of the funds it generates are flowing to the US and Europe.

Sensing profits

The Wiimote's acceleration sensor comes from US firm Analog Devices, while the corresponding device in its Nunchuk controller partner is made by Italian-French joint venture STMicroelectronics, both of which are expanding on the back of Nintendo's money-spinner.

Analog Devices has just converted one of its facilities into a dedicated Wiimote sensor plant and STMicroelectronics is in the process of throwing up a sensor production line near Milan.

Knock-on effects

The console has impacted the rest of the acceleration sensor industry too - with global sales tripling in 2006 alone, prices are falling and the devices are finding their way into phones and other mobile devices.

Other sectors are feeling the Wii effect too - according to Japanese newspaper the Nikkei [Subscription link] Mitsumi Electric, Nintendo's supplier of power chips and Wi-Fi components, netted a fivefold increase in operating profit recently.

With Nintendo predicting an 180 per cent Wii sales increase this year, it's clear to see that the collaborative approach taken by the Kyoto firm spreads the wealth considerably further than Sony's go-it-solo approach in developing the much-maligned PlayStation 3.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.