* Blame Nintendo

If Nintendo isn’t to blame for the Wii shortage, who is?

As I mentioned previously, I am offering to draft a provisional patent application in exchange for a Nintendo Wii. Which is, by the way, a very good deal.

Yesterday, I was doing some Christmas shopping at my favorite mall. (I prefer to get a lot of shopping done at once rather than deal with lots of mail-order boxes and packing material.) I stopped by EB Games to purchase a GameCube game. Since I knew exactly what I was looking for, I was only in the store for a few minutes, five minutes tops. While I was there, one person called and two others asked the store manager about when the next shipment of Nintendo Wiis was scheduled to arrive. The store manager said that he didn’t know when they’d arrive, if they’d arrive, or how many would arrive. He did mention that they received one yesterday. A big “OUT OF STOCK” sign was conspicuously posted in the Wii section of the store.

So I casually mentioned to the store manager that I thought Nintendo was doing a good job of creating consumer ill will during the busy holiday season due to the Wii shortage. I was really just making small talk, but the store manager (presumably an avid Nintendo gamer) got really defensive really quickly. He said that it wasn’t Nintendo’s fault, that they make great games, are a great company, are filling orders as fast as they can, that it’s not their fault that 30 million people want the product, that I’m only mad at the company because I want the product, warehouses, shipping problems, dogs and cats, people living together, mass hysteria, etc. I briefly tried to reason with him (silly me) and said that company executives get paid to make sure that products can be produced, marketed, shipped, and delivered on time and that it was not wise to release a new product in November. No no, not Nintendo’s fault, I was told. “Nintendo good, consumers bad!” he said. I’m paraphrasing here.

Some people believe that Nintendo created the Wii shortage intentionally, to create a lot of free press about the product. I don’t think so. The only people profiting from the Wii shortage are the Wii scalpers, there is plenty of bad news about broken televisions caused by the Wii and other problems, and then there is the opinion of ordinary consumers like me that Nintendo simply screwed this one up royally. Are Nintendo stock holders happy? Would they be more happy if Nintendo could actually deliver on the Wii promise? A lot of shoppers, like me, have already given up on trying to buy a Wii, and I only shop for major items once per year: in December. It’s now or next year for me and the Wii. I don’t think I’m alone.

Nintendo first started leaking details about the Wii in April. April people! My son has been talking about it since June! And that’s just when Nintendo started calling the new game system the “Wii.” Before then, the code name was Nintendo Revolution, which Nintendo started hyping in May 2005! For those who can’t do math (like, presumably, the product planners in Nintendo), that’s over a year and a half ago!

Nintendo had plenty of time to plan the Wii product correctly and roll in out in time for the holidays. It was originally scheduled for a September release. Oh yes, it’s the fault of the consumers. Stupid consumers.

Simply stated, if a company is going to take credit for performing well, then it must take credit for performing poorly. Just like a baseball manager must get credit for the victories and take the blame for losses. The Wii shortage is certainly not the fault of consumers, as the EB Games store manager suggested. If you can’t get a Wii this year, then there is only one logical conclusion. It’s Nintendo’s fault.

Did I mention the free patent thing?

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