How (NOT!) to get a Nintendo Wii on Launch Day

In my circle of friends, people know that I’ve been a video gamer for a long long time (since the launch of the Apple II in fact… Ah! Odyssey!). I’ve also worked a couple of years in the videogame industry at the end of the ’90s. I’m also what they call a “Nintendo FanBoy”, someone who has tremendous brand loyalty for Nintendo and everything they do.

Today was the launch date of the Nintendo Wii, the new Nintendo console. Suffice to say I’ve been wanting to get one since they demoed their amazing new controllers at E3 2006 in May. Usually FutureShop and BestBuy are pretty reliable and they allow you to pre-order. Not this time. I read somewhere that they would have more than enough for everyone and that’s why they were not taking pre-orders. Fair enough. So, I stopped my shopping, relying on these two guys to get enough consoles for me to order on launch date.

I suggest you DON’T believe everything you read on the Internet unless it’s from an official source! 🙂 I did not manage to get a Wii this morning even though I tried buying it when they went on sale at 8am on BestBuy.ca. I had one in my shopping cart but the site slowed down to a crawl and, by the time I got to payment options, they were sold out and I was kicked out of the buying process. Sigh… I tried ordering one from Sears. It worked but they cannot confirm its availability yet. Re-sigh…

Now, it seems like the only place where I can get one online is eBay. Interesting! But it’s double the suggested retail price. No good for me as I’m not ready to pay that much… I also just found out that I could have gone to my local Microplay store (five minutes from my home) and pre-order one as late as two weeks ago… Well, I’ll just wait until they receive a new batch and buy it from them.

Update: it seems like Nintendo was surprised by the level of sales on launch day and sold out everywhere.

What it means: even though most consumers will tell you in focus groups that they know their neighborhood, I don’t think they realize the amount of information they’re not aware of. That information gap is waiting to be bridged and I can see a future (not a FutureShop hopefully!) where you will be able to more efficiently shop in your neighborhood via the Internet. You’ll be able to express your needs through some sort of RFQ system and merchants will bid for the right to sell you what you’re looking for. Ah, that will be the day!

Harry says: Totally agree re: not aware of what’s in the neighborhood, however I would also posit that there is enormous potential in our neighbors, not only for what’s local, but for rest of our “worlds” too. McLuhan called it the global village.

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