Amongst the overwhelmingly good reviews and coverage the new Nintendo wii console has received today, there have been stories of people who pre-ordered months ago being let down by not receiving their orders.
The retailers have sought to blame Nintendo, but it is the retailers who should take soul blame.
First, let’s look at this in context. Microsoft were criticised heavily last year for failing to provide as many Xbox 360 units as the retailers planned. Many people (like myself) who order months in advance were either left without a console or they got the lowers specification system instead of the full system they ordered (as was the case with me). I asked my friend Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk to ask retailers why this had happened. In relation to my purchase from a store in North Norfolk he was told that this was a “one off” and that “it will not happen again”. Despite these assurances, it has.
So knowing what Microsoft did wrong, Nintendo told retailers quite clearly that they would be told at the end of September or in early October exactly how many Nintendo wii consoles they could expect to receive so that the did not take too many pre-orders.
This instruction from Nintendo did not, however, prevent some unscrupulous retailers taking pre-orders from as early as July when they had no idea at all if they could fulfil the orders !
So in the Autumn, stores were told the minimum number they would receive, but were also told that other stock might be sent to them if it could be arranged. This again meant that some stores oversold on the expectation of receiving more. And again, they took pre-orders from people and their cash in advance without knowing if they could deliver.
Is it Nintendo’s fault ? Hardly.
It gets worse, however, for some retailers. Dixons Store Group, it is rumoured, failed to receive any where near as many consoles a similar sized retailers. This is because Nintendo decided to allocate wii’s to stores who had supported Nintendo in the past 12 months, so the allocations were based on how many Nintendo products were sold previously. Since Dixons Store Group had unilaterally stopped selling Nintendo’s previous console, the Gamecube, many years ago, they received much less of an allocation from Nintendo.
Again, it is not Nintendo’s fault that they chose to support companies that had supported them, although it must have put a smile on a few Nintendo faces when they realised that Dixons, Currys and PC World would miss out to their rivals because they had chosen to “dump” on Nintendo a few years ago !
So, the real question should be why are stores allowed to take pre-orders on stock they cannot guarantee to deliver. The press should be taking the stores to task and NOT let them get away with blaming Nintendo.