Nintendo is offering a remedy to all those consumers who cannot find its popular game-console this holiday season - a rain check.
The device, which sold more than 6 million units since its launch last year, remains sold out at most retailers, many of which recommend that consumers follow the delivery truck in order to get one. Under a plan unveiled Friday, Nintendo will now allow consumers to purchase a raincheck that will guarantee delivery of a system by the end of January, however.
We expect this to be a very strong program and ... a great way for consumers who desperately want a Wii to be able to have something to put under the tree -- a certificate that guarantees their family will be able to get a system in January, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told a telephone news conference.
Fils-Aime also said several national U.S. retailers like Best Buy Co Inc, Sears and Wal-Mart will have Wiis available this weekend and in the coming week.
Wii has been dubbed the must- have gift of the 2007 holiday season and has been placed at the top of numerous gift lists.
Nintendo has repeatedly increased its shipments and its fiscal-year sales forecast for Wii in an attempt to meet demand. Nintendo has increased production capacity to 1.8 million Wii per month, but is still not able to satisfy demand.
Its popularity has been in hot demand due largely to its unique motion-sensing controller and simpler games that have drawn customers outside the traditional hard-core game enthusiasts.
Nintendo remained on top of the U.S. game hardware in November, selling 981,000 Wiis, according to market research firm NPD.
There was no ability for us to stockpile systems over the summer to meet the holiday rush, Fils-Aime said. The appeal ... to nongamers has taken away some of the seasonality of sales we have come to expect in the past.
For much of the year, sales of the Wii have managed to outpace those of rival next-generation consoles such as the Xbox 360 from Microsoft and the PlayStation 3 from Sony. The 360 sold 770,000 units in November while the PS3 moved 466,000 units, NPD said.