Despite reports of UK stores receiving less stock of the Wii than initially expected - with only those who have pre-ordered expected to be able to buy the console before January - the Australian launch of the console yesterday appears to have been more muted.
According to a report by consumer website GameSpot
, and various forum posts across the Internet, main stores in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne saw crowds of only up to 200 people. Although sizable, these figures pale next to the thousands who turned out for the Xbox 360 launch in March, when Sydney’s main shopping center was closed off and a large street party organized.
As a result, reports suggest that it is still possible to buy Wii consoles off the shelf in Australia, without the need for a pre-order. Even more so than the UK, Australia has always been Nintendo’s weakest major territory – although the company has begun to see improvements recently with the success of the Nintendo DS.
Before the launch Nintendo Australia spokesman Vispi Bhopti suggested that the Wii would sell out before Christmas, stating that, "The feedback we're getting on pre-orders is phenomenal, and the overseas experience suggests there won't be stock left lying on the shelves."
Initial reports had suggested pre-orders of 30,000 units but Nintendo refused to confirm or deny this figure. Unlike the North American launch, stock of Wii peripherals and games was described as “balanced”, with Bhopti commenting that, "We should have enough of everything”.