Analyst: Guitar Hero II, Wii Still Scarce In U.S. Stores

[UPDATE] AG Edwards analyst Bill Kreher has found that Xbox 360's Guitar Hero II is now sold out in 99 of 100 GameStop stores called, and the Wii sold out entirely -- Kreher also tells Gamasutra that Wii supplies are "volatile and unpredicta
Following up on a survey conducted earlier this month, Analyst Bill Kreher from AG Edwards has revealed that Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360 is now sold out in 99 out of 100 GameStop stores surveyed. In Kreher's April 10th survey, 89 out of 100 GameStop stores were sold out of Guitar Hero II for Microsoft's next-gen console, but the new survey shows a continued case of "...demand outstripping supply with only 1 of 100 GameStops having GH II in stock (1 unit) and again no extra guitar (X-Plorer) controllers." However, he notes in his analyst commentary to clients: "Roughly half of the stores without copies available expect a shipment to arrive at some point during this week. We believe Activision is currently seeking ways to increase production and fulfill consumer demand." Kreher also re-iterated, regarding Guitar Hero II's publisher: "We continue to believe ATVI is poised for market share gains in first half fiscal '08 based on momentum from Guitar Hero and solid prospects for movie-supported franchises including Spiderman and Shrek." An an interesting additional survey, Kreher's queries on whether next-gen hardware was available at each of the 100 GameStop stores revealed results tying in with recent anecdotal information, as follows: "Our questions on hardware availability continue to reflect high demand for the Wii. Of the stores we contacted, none had a Nintendo Wii available. Our survey also found PS3s and Xbox 360s in all 100 stores." [UPDATE: We spoke to Kreher on his findings, who told us that according to his retail checks, the retail Wii drought isn't expected to end any time soon. "We were told by 5 GameStops that they expected to receive orders this week," said Kreher, adding that the stock problems couldn't be narrowed specifically to either high demand or short supply. "Most of the outlets we talked to explained that they go extremely fast once they are received -- people even follow the delivery trucks to the stores." "Most of the sales associates did not have a clue when the next shipment would be in," he added, "explaining that sometimes when the packages get off the trucks they are surprised to find Wiis inside. We have heard from numerous stores that sometimes they will receive 10 units, then the next shipment only 2 units. It is very volatile and unpredictable." Asked if he'd seen any evidence of GameStop executives' claims that Nintendo might be intentionally withholding supply to stretch sales into its next fiscal year, Kreher added, "No, in our view it appears to be a production issue. In order for Nintendo to optimize its operations it is in the company's best interest to grow the installed base as fast as possible." Finally, given Sony's claims that its March hardware numbers, which saw the PlayStation 3 selling less than even the Game Boy Advance, were due to constrained supply as the company shifted production to PAL European units, Kreher added simply, "All I can say is that we found PS3s in all 100 stores we called."]

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