Meeting consumer demand and managing unit allocation is critical to any hardware launch, and it was something Nintendo had to grapple with during the Wii's launch. Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime believes that his company has a handle on things to proceed with a smooth launch for the new Wii U this holiday.
Speaking to Forbes, Fils-Aime commented, "We've learned a lot of lessons from the launch of the DS, the launch of Wii and the launch of 3DS. And our supply chain is solid. My job is to work with retailers, work with other business partners to create demand for the product, and have the consumer get excited. And I think we're well on the way to doing that."
He continued, "My expectation is that we will do a phenomenal job helping the consumer understand the benefits of Wii U, and that our retailers will do a wonderful job of merchandising the product and getting it into consumers' hands. We want to satisfy all of the demand that's out there. That's our goal."
The excitement certainly appears to be there, as specialty retailers like GameStop are dealing with huge demand. GameStop recently halted pre-orders due to "overwhelming demand." Its PowerUp Rewards members who ordered the Wii U had to be placed on a waiting list. Of course, if the supply chain is as solid as Nintendo says, it could be asked why GameStop is being made to halt additional pre-orders. Exact numbers on how many have been pre-ordered have not been made public yet.
As for the original Wii, Fils-Aime fully believes that the old console has plenty of life left in it. He compared it to the PlayStation 2 and thinks that "millions" of potential sales are out there.
"The broad marketing for the Wii is not going to change. The Wii is focused against today the late adopter, the consumer who is spending $149 or less to have a gaming experience. And we believe -not only in the U.S. but through all of the Americas- there's still millions of these types of consumers available," Fils-Aime remarked. "So it's a sizable opportunity. But that's a different consumer than who is going to look at the Wii U and get excited by the latest graphical capabilities, all of the services that are included, and new types of games. We see these as two different market opportunities."
Fils-Aime praised Sony for its strategy to prolong the sales curve for PS2, and he anticipates Nintendo doing the same thing with the Wii.
"You know, PlayStation has done a phenomenal job driving sales on what is a [twelve] year-old machine. They've done a phenomenal job, and they have been able to address different marketing over time, to build an incredibly large install base. We believe that the Wii system, similarly, will keep selling for quite some time," he said. "They're going to be different addressable markets, not only from a US perspective but from a global perspective… [but we'll] hopefully continue to drive sales at a historic rate."
For more on the Wii U's upcoming launch and Nintendo's opinion on pricing, please read our own interview with Reggie Fils-Aime here.