A friend from college visited me a few months ago and we played a few rounds of Wii tennis and he fell in love with the game and wanted one. Then I had to break it to him that it was still currently almost impossible to buy a Wii. He recently told me a story of his coworker tracking one down:
So my friend is walking through Wal-Mart on a Sunday morning and I guess it’s when the Wii shipment comes in because just as he’s walking past the video game area, he watches an employee put four Wii console boxes on the shelf. He picks up a Wii box and he’s reading the label for maybe 30 seconds. He looks back at the shelf, and the three other boxes are gone. Then someone taps him on the shoulder.
“You gonna buy that Wii you’re holding?” says the shoulder tapper.
“Yeah, I think I am.”
And he did.
Now that’s consumer demand for a successful product.
I’ve been meaning to write a post about all the stupid articles and references to a couple people that have tossed their Wii controllers so hard it broke their television. I’ve been playing about 30 minutes a day for the past week and having a controller slip out of your hand just seemed ridiculous. I was so confident in this assertion that I took the leash out of the remote when I first set it up. I noticed a bunch of blogs linking to the broken TV stories and the press seemed to glom onto it because it’s a funny new angle they can deflate the Wii hype with. You’d have to be a total spazz to not only need the leash but also break it, and then break your TV too.
Blogs and newspapers both love to do this: find a silly outlier story to discredit/attack/mock a new trend. The “you’ll hurt each other playing a Wii” and “you’ll break your TV!” stories definitely fill the bill and allow a pundit or blogger to scoff at anything interesting, new, or innovative in something like the Wii and just make jokes about it. I’d also say jokes about the Zune coming in brown or Microsoft employees calling file transfers “squirting” is doing the same thing to the Zune: overshadowing the actual innovative feature that lets you share songs with random people nearby (I’ll never own a Zune but I wish my iPods could do that).
Anyway, this is just a long way of saying last night I was playing the training part of the Sports disc, where you can bowl with up to 96 pins. You have to throw the ball as hard as you can, and while doing this the controller slid clear out of my hand. It banked off the fireplace in front of me with so much force that it bounced directly up into the ceiling where it hit hard and bounced back down. It missed the TV above the fireplace by a couple of inches.
So I guess the moral of the story is you should really use those little leash things and I’m a bigger spazz than I thought.
Everyone I know seems to want to score a Wii on launch day, and most are betting on second tier outlets to get one. I agree and think that the world will line up at Walmarts, Targets, and BestBuys around the country so the secret is to find another option that is big enough to get Wiis on launch day, but also not so big that anyone would notice. This could be a local mom & pop store, a non-franchise video game store, or that seedy Kmart in the bad part of town.
I tested this theory out by visiting my local Fred Meyer. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest and near any major city, chances are you are surrounded by Fred Meyers. I don’t think I’ll hurt my chances by sharing that they’re open from 12:01am-1am this Saturday night and my local one has 75 Wii consoles ready to go. That’s a lot of boxes, right up there with what most BestBuy stores will get and about double what any Target store is getting near me.
I was running some errands and figured I’d drop by my local Gamestop around 1pm to reserve a spot for a new Wii. I live in the middle of nowhere and the pre-order launch was only on a few sites as a rumor so I figured it’d be no problem. The controller looks really innovative and the games look fun but I didn’t think there’d be any mass appeal for it.
The guy working there said there was a line at the opening of the store today, and they hit their limit of 20 pre-orders after just a few minutes. I think it’s time for pre-order pre-ordering so I could have snagged one of those pre-order slots.