Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Surprise! Yet More Nintendo Shortages!

I don't know about anyone else, but for me, Nintendo is getting a nasty reputation for not getting their shit together. First there are the ever-chronic shortages of Wii consoles that will seemingly never end (the console war's answer to Iraq). Then there were intermittant DS shortages during the holiday season. Now Smash Brothers Brawl is expected to face severe shortages for its Japanese launch.

It's been suggested that perhaps these shortages across the pond is the reason the game has been delayed in North America. It wouldn't surprise me, but that would be terrible news if it were proven true. Nintendo is fast becoming the company that can't get their products out. It's not even a matter of demand. It's a matter of supply. They enjoyed a blessed phase in the gaming market over the last 18 months. But that's going to change. 2008 is going to be far, far more competitive.

It comes back to a question I've had in my head for a number of months, around the time I became completely burned out on buying a Nintendo Wii, and the question is this: Does Nintendo Even Want to Win? Considering that they've found their success in the long tail as a niche provider, was there ever really any great incentive to expand their market and pursue Sony and Microsoft?

Still, at least when it comes to Smash Brothers Brawl, the one key title certain to draw in that increasingly-cynical hardcore gamer crowd, you'd think Nintendo would really get their game together. The prospect of yet more empty store shelves is another (self-inflicted) black eye for Nintendo.

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