Briefing.com reports (subscription only) that, according to UBS, 2 million Wii consoles were completed in Q3 (July-September) to support Nintendo's upcoming Q406 global console launch, beginning November 19th in North America. In addition, "at least 7 mln and potentially as high as 9 mln more units are in the build plan for 4Q06." The report continues, "this production ramp handily exeeds [sic] a publicly announced tgt for 6 mln units to ship by yearend"; however, Nintendo had previously announced plans to ship 6 million units by the end of their fiscal year (ending March 31, 2007) and only 4 million by the end of the calendar year. The language appears to indicate the possibility of building, if not shipping, as many as 11 million Wii consoles by the end of the calendar year!
With production exceeding expectations, why release the console so much later than many anticipated, and right on top of the PlayStation 3's November 17th launch? It all comes down to software. While Nintendo may have warehouses full of Wiis, they need a launch lineup and reliable system software to go along with all that stockpiled hardware. But Zelda has to be done ... we would have been happy with just that, promise.