Nintendo Faces Wii U Shortage After Debut in U.S. This Weekend - Businessweek: Nintendo Co. (7974)’s new Wii U will likely fly off store shelves during the holiday shopping season, giving the creator of Mario and Zelda a temporary boost as it tries to rebound from its first annual loss.
The Wii U debuts in the U.S. on Nov. 18 starting at $300, and shortages are likely as the company is expected to sell 3.5 million units this year, according to market researcher IHS Screen Digest. The long-term outlook for the home console and its software isn’t so promising as the world’s biggest maker of video-game machines faces surging sales of smartphones and tablets, which players use for free online games.
Pressure is mounting on President Satoru Iwata to repeat the success of the Wii console after the 3DS handheld player failed to meet sales expectations in overseas markets, prompting the company to cut its profit goal by 70 percent last month. Nintendo and rival console makers Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Sony Corp. (6758) all face increased competition in the gaming market as consumers turn to smartphones and tablets such as Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad to play free games like “Angry Birds.”