Santa visits Nintendo early: Wii sales more than doubled in November


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Nintendo sold more than 2 million Wii game consoles in the U.S. last month, more than double the number it sold in November 2007, according to Reggie Fils-Aime, president of the Japanese company’s North American division. That’s a record number for a month that isn’t December, when the bulk of console sales happen, and it’s about one-third more than the 1.4 million to 1.5 million that analysts had projected.

Nintendo’s winning streak extended to two other products, the DS hand-held console and Wii Fit, a game that encourages players to exercise. Nintendo said it sold 1.57 million DS consoles, up from 1.53 million last year, and more than half a million copies of Wii Fit, which launched in May and has been in short supply ever since.


Fils-Aime said he expects the DS to be relatively easy for buyers to find, but shoppers may ...

... need to visit multiple stores before scoring a Wii console, despite the company’s efforts to expand U.S. shipments by more than 50% this holiday over last.

Nintendo’s haul contrasts with a glum forecast issued by Electronic Arts, the world’s largest independent video game publisher, earlier this week. The Redwood City, Calif., company said it would not meet earlier sales and profit targets for its fiscal year ending March 2009 due to lackluster holiday sales of its games.

But for Nintendo, things couldn’t be better. The company defied critics who years ago predicted that its Wii console was a fad that would not last more than a year or two. The console, now in its third holiday season, seems as popular as ever, even in the turbulent economy.

‘We’re seeing strength across our entire portfolio,’ Fils-Aime said in an interview today. ‘Consumers are really being motivated to buy quality products that the entire family can enjoy.’

For those who are still searching for a Wii or a Wii Fit, Fils-Aime had this advice: Watch the Sunday circulars from retailers. Those that advertise the Wii will have it in stock, at least for the first few days. ‘Supply will be very concentrated to retailers when they’re running their ads and promotions,’ he said. ‘When a retailer runs a circular on Sunday, they will likely have product but will run out before the end of the week. The following Sunday, another retailer will have stock that they will advertise in their circulars.’


-- Alex Pham

Wii Fit screen shot by Nintendo