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Wii rolls out in huge numbers

Tags: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo (TYO:7974), Wii

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Nintendo is mobilizing the largest worldwide video game console launch in at least a decade, with approximately 4 million Wii systems available globally during the six weeks between Wii's Nov. 19 launch in the Americas and the end of 2006. Although the largest share of that worldwide allotment will go to the Americas, Nintendo expects supply will be outpaced by demand, based on retailer orders, intense consumer requests and placement on numerous "gotta have it" holiday lists.

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.

"Wii is for both experienced and uninitiated gamers, and it will be available for the masses," says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "Because of demand, we're urging shoppers not to get complacent. The level of demand we're seeing goes beyond the ordinary. Retailers are telling us a significant fraction of customers pre-ordering Wii are nontraditional gamers - people looking for a better way to play. And that's exactly what Wii is designed to provide."

A new study by the Consumer Electronics Association estimates a 27 percent spending increase this holiday season on electronic goods, and major pop culture authorities already have singled out Wii as the most anticipated item for the holidays. For the first time in history, a video game system is on the Toys "R" Us "Fabulous 15," the crème de la crème of the retailer's "Hot Toy" list. Wired made Wii an editors' pick in the technology magazine's annual Test issue. And Toy Wishes magazine also includes Wii on its "Hot Dozen" list of must-have holiday toys, an industry bellwether of popular demand.

The unmatched Wii console makes use of a new control system: The Wii Remote can act like anything from a steering wheel to a tennis racket or a sword. Wii's Virtual Console™ lets users download and play games from a library of classic titles from the past. Wii goes on sale in the Americas Nov. 19 at an MSRP of $249.99, and comes packed with a five-sport selection of games called Wii Sports. Outstanding first-party games available on launch day include The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and EXCITE TRUCK. A total of 62 new and classic games will be available for Wii during the five weeks after launch. The American launch is followed by the Dec. 2 Japanese launch and the Dec. 8 European launch.