Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all said that they expect to encounter stock shortages of their games consoles over Christmas. Industry magazine MCV says that all three companies have revealed that they expect to sell out of Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles and may not be able to meet demand.
"Every year it seems to happen with stock being tight, and I don't think that this year is going to be any different," Nintendo UK manager, David Yarnton, told the magazine. "We've got regular stock coming in. In terms of demand, we can't predict whether that will be enough at the moment - probably not. But you can't just turn on a tap with hardware."
Consoles to sell out?
Despite disappointing (and fluctuating) sales of the PlayStation 3 to date, Sony also says it expects to encounter problems due to its three-pronged PlayStation range. The PlayStation 2 is still selling more than the PS3, and Sony is also having to build and sell plenty of PSPs, which it says is a "logistical" problem.
"It continues to be tight but we continue to do out best to ensure a flow of stock is available to our customers in this all important buying season," said an SCEE spokesperson.
Wii stock problems continue
Microsoft, however, is a lot more optimistic. Regional VP, Chris Lewis, told MCV: "We're working hard to make sure that shortages don't happen. Inevitably the odd pocket of the EMEA region will have the odd blip, but we've got a lot better at this over the years."
Of the three, Nintendo and Microsoft seem to sound more honest. Nintendo has had stock problems ever since the Wii launched, so if anything it's highly likely that there won't be enough consoles to go around in the run-up to Christmas.
We get emails regularly from readers saying they can't find any Wiis anywhere, asking us for advice on how to get one.
Christmas console rush
Microsoft has been able to cope with demand for the Xbox 360 thus far and so barring an unprecedented rush for the console during December, it's unlikely that the company could have got things wrong enough to run out of units to shift.
Sony, on the other hand, has had no stock problems with its PlayStation 3. For the simple reason that not as many people have wanted to buy one. So unless Sony has severely ramped down production in order to compensate for lesser demand, it's hard to see how the PS3 might sell out.
Plus, after disappointing sales so far, it would be a massive blunder for Sony to not be able to cope with demand at the one time of year when it's guaranteed to sell plenty of units.
According the VG Chartz's unofficial data, last week in the UK the Nintendo Wii sold 36,701 units, the Xbox 360 sold 13.050 and the PS3 sold 8,930.