We're all aware of the continuing scarcity of Nintendo's Wii. But why are consumers so excited about the console? Gamasutra Podcast
host Tom Kim recently visited a Illinois Best Buy where a post-launch line had gathered to queue for Wii restocks, and got the answer straight from the source - the public itself.
Frustration Factor... Rising?
One notable factor for those queuing was frustration, since Wii demand has way, way outpaced supply, leaving many shoppers steaming. “For about a month and a half now I've been trying to get one, and it's just impossible to find,” commented one shopper. “You have to come right when the UPS driver delivers it, and Best Buy refuses to tell you whenever they are getting in shipments. They lie and tell you that they have no idea when they are coming in, when they obviously do know when they are coming in.”
Another couple noted similar experiences: “We've been to at least fifty stores checking for at least three weeks, and we haven't found one yet.” The relative ease of finding games for the Wii is additionally frustrating many consumers, while the console itself and further Wii-motes have been more or less unattainable.
One person in line voiced his thoughts on this specific situation, commenting: “You would think that the manufacturer and the developers would put pressure on [Nintendo] to put out more. You'd think that they could [supply] more than they are, especially now that it is after Christmas and they've gone through their rush.”
Why Queue Now?
But has this frustration put consumers off the console? It appears not, even though major lines forming to queue for restocks of hardware post-launch is a relatively rare occurrence. There were around 30 people queueing for the chance to pick up a Wii in this case, over 2 months after its original street date.
So why were these consumers so keen to get hold of the Wii? One mother queuing in Illinois with her children to get a Wii commented, simply enough: “We already have a lot of the Nintendo [GameCube] games, and it's compatible [with the GameCube], and the price point is right, and it's gotten good reviews.”
In that case, a combination of familiarity with the family-friendly Nintendo brand, backwards compatibility, and positive press had tempted the consumer. But specific games in the bundled Wii Sports
package also caught the eye of other queuing. “For the Wii, I'm planning on the bowling game," commented one eager shopper. “I hear it has an unbelievable bowling game.”
The Wii's control system has also snared many prospective buyers, with a mother commenting of his young son: “He just wants one because you can move around when you play it.” When asked why he might be interested in Wii instead of, say, the Xbox 360, the son simply said: “The Wii seems more fun.”
So, it seems like a combination of a low price point, media reports praising the console, and familiarity with the Nintendo brand were fueling at least this queue's rabid desires for Nintendo's next-gen console.
Taking one female Illinois queuer as a final example of this, she commented that she became interested in the Wii after hearing that that it was “better than the PlayStation 3”, both through her friends and media reports.
She then explained that the PlayStation 3's availability was almost a factor in making the Wii more desirable: “At Christmas time I was in Best Buy, and they were on the shelf, the PS3s. They were right there. You could have bought them if you wanted to. You couldn't get a Wii for anything.”