I’m seeing signs that the Wii supply crunch may be ending, now that the company is ramping up production and most fanatics have found their consoles.
Details will come Thursday or Friday when Nintendo will provide a financial report, a spokeswoman said, but it’s obviously going to be positive.
Nintendo said April 19 that it has already sold more than 1 million Wiis this year and shipments will increase this month.
There are plenty of clues of increased Wii flow. One was a job ad I saw a few days ago, seeking people to work at Nintendo’s North America distribution center in North Bend. Nintendo is hiring more people to handle distribution and assembly tasks.
Then I saw that big retailers were confident enough in Wii supply to advertise consoles in the preprinted ads inserted in the Sunday paper. They weren’t pushing costly bundles, just straight consoles at $249, so the channel must be turning its attention to mainstream buyers who care more about price.
What really sealed things, though, was a visit to the Redmond Target. I walked in the door and saw people pushing carts with Wiis inside.
Back in the electronics section, the Wii case still had about eight consoles sitting there untouched. I spent about 10 minutes watching the sales clerk hover with his key chain, in case anyone wanted to buy one, and saw only a few buyers.
But then, that Target is just a couple of miles or so from Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters, and a stone’s throw from Microsoft’s Xbox offices.