High street retailers are struggling to keep up with demand for Nintendo's popular Wii console - threatening Christmas disappointment for some.
The Wii is selling outside of the traditional gaming market, says Rob Saunders
Nintendo UK's Rob Saunders answers readers' questions on the issue.
Q: Having planned ahead and purchased my Wii in September, I have
sympathy for those suffering at the hands of unscrupulous retailers.
Does anyone know if there is a similar shortage of Wii games?
David, Fife, Scotland
As far as we are aware there are currently no problems in purchasing Wii software titles. Some retailers may experience very minor shortages of in-demand titles, but overall there is a healthy supply of software in the market.
Q: We ordered a Wii from Next for home delivery in early September and were quoted three weeks' delivery time. We are still waiting. Next have not been good at keeping us informed as to what the current situation is.
Kenny Millar, Kirkintilloch, Scotland
Unfortunately I can't comment on your problems with Next directly, but it is an issue you should raise with their customer service team as soon as possible. Next do not deal directly with Nintendo, they purchase their stock via an independent distributor.
Q: I ordered a Wii mid-October for my son. The retailer now cannot guarantee delivery for Christmas. I've seen prices for Wii sports starting at £369. I am disgusted at those who are cashing in on the shortage and angry at Nintendo. I wonder if Nintendo have done this on purpose to push up prices.
Michelle, Cupar, Fife, Scotland
The video games market is a fiercely competitive one and it is not in our interest to withhold stock from anyone. It is illegal for manufacturers to set prices for their products or engage in activity that artificially raises prices.
Retailers ultimately set the price. Unlike traditional video game products, Nintendo Wii is selling well all year round and to an audience outside of the traditional gaming market. This has resulted in high demand all year for Wii.
Wii is the fastest ever console to reach one million units in the history of the UK games market - in just 38 weeks.
Q: I ordered a Wii from Woolworths online back in September. The Wii did not arrive. It took me over two months to get a refund. I registered with Wii-consoles.co.uk and was delighted when they sent me an e-mail saying John Lewis had them. But the John Lewis website showed none available. I am not happy at all.
Tracey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
The best thing to do in order to make sure you get a console is to visit a tried-and-trusted High Street and online retailer and ask them to add you to any waiting lists they have. They will then ring you when stock arrives to ensure that you get hold of one.
Q: Nintendo have also realised that they are able to maintain the
price of the Wii if there is a "shortage". I work for a High Street company and were taking names for the console, which we now only sell as a bundle. We took about 70 names in two to three weeks!
Chris Jones, St Albans, Hertfordshire
It is illegal for any manufacturer to both set a selling price and artificially inflate the price of their products. Retailers decide at what price to sell products. Nintendo do not create these bundles, these are created at store level by retailers.
Q: I advise people to use European web sites, pricerunner.de for example. If you are confused just give the shop a call and you will be amazed how many people can speak English when it comes to selling something. A simple two-pin adapter is all that is needed. Warranties are also available EU wide.
Guy, Helsinki, Finland
You are quite correct and within your rights to purchase any item within the European Economic Area for shipment to any other country in the EEA. Your warranty is still valid anywhere in the EEA if the product was bought from any EEA member country.
Recent newspaper articles have talked about buying products from the US and other non-EEA countries. There are several pitfalls to be aware of:
- You are no longer covered under warranty.
- Products from the US and Japan are not designed to run on the UK 240-volts mains supply and you risk damaging your product and hurting yourself.
- Home console games are region coded, like DVDs. This means you will not be able to play any UK-purchased software on a US machine.