The Nintendo Wii hit the market back in November- nearly 6 months ago. Despite this, they're nearly impossible to find. I've scoured a number of local stores looking for a Wii, but they're all perpetually out of stock. If they are expecting more units, they generally don't know when they might arrive. I've made notes of when some of the major stores get shipments in, but that's iffy at best. It's frustrating that I have to go through this much work for the privilege of paying someone $250.
I don't understand how Nintendo has not been able to produce enough of these systems to meet demand. Now, months after its release, you'd think they would have caught up on their distribution. Sure, there's something to be said for creating an artificially high demand for the system to create a 'buzz' about it, but I don't think the benefits from that strategy outweigh the costs.
While the Wii is out of stores, the XBox 360 and Playstation 3 are easy to find. Most stores have a number of 360's on hand, and at least one lonely PS3 behind a glass case. Many potential Wii owners are opting for an available system instead of chasing down stocks of Nintendo Shipments or paying a premium to purchase one on eBay.
In addition to losing system sales to its competitors, Nintendo is missing out on millions of dollars of accessory a game sales. After all, no one is going to buy additional controllers, games, and battery rechargers if they don't own the actual Wii. For video game makers, most of their profit comes from these accessory sales- not the sale of the actual system. Currently, the Playstation 3 and XBox 360 are actually being sold at a loss, and the Wii at a very small profit. But those losses are worth while because of the huge profit margin on the accessories. When I last checked Wal-Mart, they had no Wii's available, but were actually quite overstocked on Wii accessories and games.
If I were a video game console manufacturer, I would make as many units as I could before the release date (and immediately afterward) to take advantage of all the demand. And within six months, I'd fully intend on it regularly being in stock at major retailers.
All I want is the chance is to destroy my personal property with one of those 'wii-motes'. That's all.