Wii production is at 2.4 million a month, Wii Fit has sold "somewhere around 3 million units," and women are a big part of the reason why.
"Once you see it on the shelf, you ought to buy it" is Reggie Fils-Aime's advice to prospective Wii shoppers this holiday season. He may be doing his job as President of Nintendo of America, but his gung-ho attitude about his company's outlook persisted throughout the interview he gave the Los Angeles Times at the 22nd Annual Women's Conference.
When asked about whether sales had been affected by current economic conditions, Reggie answered, "we have not seen any negative impact." In fact, Reggie pointed out that both systems account for "almost 70% of the dollar growth of the industry in the U.S. in the first nine months of this year, compared to last year." Given that data, and considering that the Wii "continues to be largely sold out at retail," Nintendo is confidently manufacturing 2.4 million Wii units a month for worldwide consumption.
Asked to explain the Wii's success, and Nintendo's confidence, in the face of today's market conditions, Reggie suggested that the company's products were highly valued "because the entire family can play and because each game has more than 50 hours of play time." But Reggie also talked about the new consumers that were driving sales, and who drew him to the non-profit women's conference, an event originally started for female small business owners and professionals.
"Half the owners of our hand-held DS console are women." He pointed out, "Among those who play the Wii, 50% are female." Reggie also claimed that not only did women play the Wii, they also owned the console in higher numbers too. "In terms of people who claim the Wii console as theirs, a third are women. That compares to about 20% for typical consoles."
Talking specifically about software, Reggie recounted seeing a line of shoppers at the Nintendo World Store waiting to purchases Nintendo's Wii Fit game. "Of the people who stood in line in New York, 60% were working women. This is a demo that arguably has never bought a video game, and they're buying [Wii Fit] for themselves." He claimed that Wii Fit, which has sold "somewhere around 3 million units," and other top selling products show how Nintendo has managed to achieve so much success in attracting female customers. "In our research, women enjoy the social nature of games," Reggie explained, "that's why Nintendogs did so well with women. There was no winning. You just had to take care of this cute dog."
Yet despite this enthusiasm for "no winning," Nintendo is certainly enjoying the fruits of success. In addition to the strong sales they predict, the video game company is reaping the benefits of strong sales from older games like New Super Mario Bros. for the DS which would have normally disappeared from store shelves months ago. Nintendo is also enjoying strong retailer support. "Retailers view the Wii and the DS as a way to draw more consumers into their stores," gushed Reggie, "they are using it as a loss leader to drive traffic."