Ah, July, the most wonderful month of the year, packed with sunshine and warm weather, glorious summer days, languorous nights on the beach and Christmas supply shortage warnings from Nintendo.
Just because we’re not hip-deep in snow doesn’t mean it’s too early to start sounding the alarm that Nintendo may not be able to meet the demand for its popular console over the holidays. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata appears more than happy to indulge in this new festive tradition, telling Forbes that the company is going to do its very best to increase Wii shipments to the U.S. this year but adding that he still can’t guarantee enough Christmas cheer for everyone.
“We are really intending to increase the shipments to the U.S., especially compared to last year,” Iwata said. “However, I can’t give you a 100 percent commitment [that you’ll be able to find a Wii this holiday season]. What I can commit myself to is that Nintendo is going to do its best to supply as many Wii hardware units as possible in order to meet demand there.”
Nintendo experienced similar problems over the holiday period in 2006 and again in 2007, when it ramped up supply and shipped 40 percent of its production to the U.S. alone but was still unable to meet the demand for the console. As it approaches its two-year birthday, the Wii remains wildly popular, recently surpassing the Xbox 360 for unit sales in the U.S., a mark which led both Microsoft and Sony to claim that they’re not actually competing with the Wii anyway, so the fact that their systems are being pounded senseless by the goofy little console doesn’t really count.
Despite that history, Iwata’s statement sounds less like a warning of legitimate supply shortages and more like Nintendo simply hedging its bets. I mean, it’s freakin’ July, people.