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Nintendo slip up points to Wii shortages? [update 1]

Kyle Orland

It's not every day that a major video game company tells you not to listen to what it says, but that's just what Nintendo did today. Yesterday, the company issued a press release trumpeting NPD sales figures that showed healthy Wii and DS sales. The release also promised "well more than a million" Wii systems would be on U.S. store shelves by the end of the year, despite what the release called "spot shortages in some locations."

Today, Nintendo issued a correction asking everyone to disregard the line about the million systems and the spot shortages. The company didn't offer any new projections for end-of-year domestic shipments, they just want us to know that the million unit target should go down the memory hole.

Given Nintendo's previous promise to ship four million systems worldwide by year's end, we find it hard to believe that not even a million of those system's would go to the world's largest video game market. So we have to wonder, does this retraction point to some Wii production problems that are slowing the planned deployment of the system?

Maybe Nintendo is just reapportioning it's limited supplies in light of crippling shortages in Europe, leaving the U.S. in the cold. Maybe the company just didn't want to tip its hand about regional distribution plans (although we think the damage has already been done if this is the case). Maybe Nintendo is scaling back Wii chatter in preparation for a planned merger with Apple (highly unlikely, but hey, anything is possible).

We've contacted Nintendo for more information about the correction and the rationale behind it, and will let you know as soon as they get back to us. [Update 1: Nintendo has sent a clarification about their correction: "Because of the many variables involved in orchestrating a continuous worldwide launch, a blanket statement about availability in specific regions cannot be made. We remain committed to the ongoing, rapid replenishment of systems in the United States and around the world through the end of 2006 and beyond to bring a new gaming experience to our customers."]

Read - Original press release
Read - Corrected press release

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