Wii profitable from day one

"No ulterior motive" - Nintendo

Nintendo of Canada exec Pierre-Paul Trépanier has told our sister site GamesIndustry.biz that the company is already raking in the cash following yesterday's launch of the Wii.

"We make a profit on the system itself," Trépanier said. "Unlike our competitors, we don’t have ulterior motives; we’re not in it to sell HD TVs, or to become the operating system in the living room or anything like that.

"We’re in the gaming business, and we have to make money from everything we sell - and we are making money from day one on the Wii."

According to Trépanier, Nintendo is still on track to meet shipment targets for the Wii - and he confirmed that North America will get the lion's share.

"We have 4 million units ready to go, which is something our competitors have struggled with... Historically a bit more than half of our worldwide shipment would go to North America, I think that’s probably a good estimate."

But despite the healthy stock supply, Trépanier conceded, the Wii is still likely to sell out this Christmas: "We do estimate there will be supply issues within the first few weeks."

However, he continued, "We’re receiving a constant supply. Every week there is a flow of product to the marketplace. The extremely complex and sophisticated supply system ensures that product will be delivered quickly to the stores that need it.

"We have a good supply management system that evaluates fairly well the demand and pull from each individual store depending on its size, class, location, seasonality and things like that," Trépanier explained.

"We’re not putting fixed numbers for stores; we really assign quantities based on historical pull."

Trépanier went on to defend Nintendo's decision to launch the Wii just two days after PlayStation 3, stating, "The timing is great as it’s pre-Thanksgiving, which is a very important commercial consideration in the United States, and it’s great for the holidays.

"And the great news is the feedback we’re getting from media and consumers and all of our research is that the Nintendo Wii really is the pretty girl at the party this year."

Trépanier's comments came at a Wii launch event held at the Ontario Place theme park. Members of the press, public and games industry were all invited to attend, and the response was positive despite long queues to play the most highly anticipated titles (with Ubisoft's Red Steel proving particularly popular).

Trépanier declined to put a figure on the number of Wii units shipped to Canada, but did say that the territory represents "about ten per cent" of the North American market. Analysts have estimated that as many as 200,000 consoles were available in Canada at launch.

"Canada is more important than its actual market size," Trépanier said.

"Not only is Canada 10 per cent of North America, which is significant, but the Canadian subsidiary of Nintendo is widely regarded as one of the best subsidiaries in the world on a whole bunch of measures including profit per employee and market share."

The Nintendo Wii will launch in Japan on December 2, six days ahead of the European release.

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