Early Reports: Wii A Smash Hit In Japan
Well, the Wii has arrived in Japan, and things are progressing smoothly thus far.
Nintendo shipped approximately 400,000 Wiis to Japan, and some major electronics branches reportedly received as many as 2,800 units, with many others receiving over 500. These numbers instantly dwarf the PS3 launch, where consumers and businesses were forced to deal with a major shortage that resulted in less than 100,000 PS3s available on launch day.
Of course, this means there were likely less auctioneers waiting in line for the Wii, simply because the supply was much higher. Just about everyone who picked up the Wii probably did so for their own entertainment-related reasons. This should be further evident by the tie-in ratio, which is expected to be much higher than the PS3 simply because there are far more launch titles available. However, we don't yet have any official numbers for this.
Famitsu has already repoted that the Tokyo Ikebukuro branch of Bic Camera sold their entire allocation of 1,200 units, while the Tokyo Yuuraku-cho branch declared a "sold-out" status of the console after the 1,500th customer arrived at 5:41 a.m.
Sales figures have yet to be tallied, but for the most part, the Nintendo Wii is sold out just about everywhere. It was decidedly difficult for Japanese gamers to preorder the console online, too, so that likely added to the retail rush. Even so, it seems evident that 400,000 simply wasn't enough to satisfy Japan, but at least the situation is preferable to the insanity of the PS3 launch.
12/2/2006 Ben Dutka