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A Nintendo marketing chief said in an interview that while Nintendo’s manufacturing partner Foxconn Electronics currently produces up to 1.8 million Nintendo Wii game console units a month, the company may still have troubles meeting the demand during holiday season. Perhaps, this is hardly a surprise.

“We’re at a rate now worldwide of about 1.8 million Wiis produced every month, and that’s going to sustain itself until we get on top of this. We’re trying to make decisions on almost a weekly basis about which market to ship the product to, because in Japan it’s a big success, and same in Europe,” George Harrison, senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Nintendo of America, said in an interview with Next Generation web-site.

Currently Nintendo sells through roughly 500 thousand of Nintendo Wii game consoles a month in the U.S. and over 100 thousand monthly in Japan. The actual numbers for PAL regions are unclear, but they are likely to be comparable to the numbers in the U.S., which means that at the moment Nintendo sells through about 1.1 million Wii units a month worldwide and can stockpile about 0.7 million for its peak season every regular month.

It is unknown for how many months Nintendo had 1.8 million units production level, but Mr. Harrison indicated that the decision was made “back in Summer” and that it takes twenty days for Wii game consoles to reach the USA stores from facilities in China. At first, Nintendo made the decision to increase production levels in June, 2007, it was rumoured.

“We had to make our final decision on how much to produce each month for the holidays back in the summer. It takes about five months for us to increase the actual monthly rate of production. […] It’s generally all coming in by boat from China. It takes about 10 days on the water to get to Seattle, then it takes about another 10 days to get them out onto store shelves themselves. That’s why the decisions about what we can actually achieve in the holidays were really affected by inventory that we’ve received already and how we planned to spread that inventory across retailers,” Mr. Harrison said.

The demand towards game consoles skyrockets in November and December. According to NPD Group, total available market for non-portable game consoles reached 3.6 million units in the USA and this year it may grow even higher. The most successful game console in December ’06 was Sony’s PlayStation 2, which was sold in 1.4 million quantities and which sales have been declining in the recent months. Since the PlayStation 2 is unlikely to set a new record this December and PlayStation 3 is unlikely to substitute it, then total available market for Nintendo Wii in the USA alone could be above 1.4 million units in December. Therefore, only time will tell whether there will be enough Wii for everyone this holiday season.


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