Nintendo's big Wii debut

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 15, 2006

Good news for gamers counting down the days until the Japan launch of Nintendo Wii games console on December 2. Not only will the Wii be half the price of Sony’s PlayStation3, but the odds on getting hold of one will be four times greater. According to today’s Nihon Keizai, Japan’s biggest business daily, Nintendo will have 400,000 Wii consoles ready to go on sale at the launch. Sony could only muster a 100,000 PS3s for its Japan debut last weekend, causing chaotic scenes outside Tokyo’s big electronics retailers.

Japanese gamers who can’t wait until December also have the option of heading to the U.S., where the Wii debut on November 19. Nintendo won’t say how many machines it will have ready on the day, but the company plans to ship two million units in the U.S. by year-end, compared to one million in Japan.

Even that might not be enough, though, if Nintendo’s U.S. marketing blitz goes to plan. Yesterday, the Kyoto-based company kicked off a $200 million, 12 month advertising campaign which TV commercials, mall tours and dozens of other events. Many of them will target older gamers and women as Nintendo tries to show the Wii’s broad appeal. Of course, many analysts still expect Sony’s PS3 to emerge triumphant in the latest round of game console wars, but at this early stage Nintendo can’t be accused of not pulling out all the stops.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

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