It’s simple. Nintendo wants to launch with as many systems as possible so as many people as possible that want a system get one. In an age of launch shortages, false-bottomed hype and marketing, and disasterous global launches that see clumps of systems going to those gamers crazy enough to camp out long periods of time to get them and no one else, Nintendo has once again gone completely against the grain.
Naturally, there has been some pushback from the status quo. Millions of systems available at launch? Everyone gets a console? No camping? Not possible! That may be in this age of “eight systems per GameStop,” and pre-order madness that has resulted in PS3 RECEIPTS being sold on eBay for thousands of dollars, but all the signs are pointing to the fact that places like Best Buy will be getting dozens of consoles each — if not hundreds.
And this is why the Wii is launching in November and not October or July or whenever it was the gaming press declared would be the best month to launch and defeat the likes of Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo can’t launch on Nov. 19! That’s AFTER the PS3! But, launching on Nov. 19 has allowed Nintendo to say things like this bit of marketing spin:
“Nintendo is maximizing all its resources for a rapid replenishment program designed to consistently pump Wii consoles into the supply pipeline and keep retailers’ shelves as filled as possible. In addition, Nintendo factories are working around the clock manufacturing the extraordinary new system. Nintendo is employing fleets of planes, cargo ships, trains and ground vehicles in each global market to maintain the best supply flow possible, starting in the Americas.”
A press release, granted, but regardless Nintendo is putting its money where its mouth is in terms of shipping product to the eager hands of consumers. If this had happened in October or September, a select few would have had grins ear to ear, but the debacle that was the 360 launch and the utter catastophe that will be the PS3 launch this month would have surely ocurred for Nintendo (and that’s not a fanboy talking either; Japan has been downgraded to ‘unimportant status’ for the PS3 launch with 80k units, and Europe, well, we all know what’s happening there). An ealrier launch would have also killed off the word of mouth buzz that has seen Wii reach several non-traditional venues over the past three months.
So get comfy. This month is shaping up to be an abnormality. Millions of gamers will have the Wii in-hand roughly at the same time. That’s quite an installed base, and was precisely the plan all along.