Almost 2 million Wiis in US by year's end

Reggie tells Reuters that 1 million Wiis will be in the US by early December and expects an additional million in the country by the second week of January.

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Nintendo will bring approximately 2 million Wii game consoles to the US by the end of the year, a wave of machines that could help the company gain ground in the console wars.

Speaking with Reuters, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that he expects 1 million Wiis in the region by early December and 2 million by the second week of January. The previous official company line simply stated that 4 million Wiis would be available worldwide by the end of the year.

Nintendo plans to restock US distributors and retailers on a weekly basis, according to the company. The console will next launch in Japan on December 2 and in Europe on December 8. Earlier this month, Nintendo said it would ship around 400,000 consoles into Japan this year.

Of the three console makers, Nintendo so far seems to have done the most thorough job in getting retailers and distributors stocked. The $250 Wii console, which went on sale over the weekend, was available in several retail outlets. Some early buyers are selling consoles on eBay, but generally current bidding is in the $300 to $400 range with games and extras.

Reggie expects 2 million Wiis in the US by mid-January.
Reggie expects 2 million Wiis in the US by mid-January.

By contrast, Sony will only bring a few hundred thousand PlayStation 3 consoles to the states by the end of the year, according to various estimates. eBay bidders are putting $700 and $900 bids on the $499 and $599 consoles. (Some buyers are listing minimum bids of $1,000 or more, but these auctions have attracted few punters.)

Last year, Microsoft found itself short of Xbox 360 consoles. Rumors of new waves of supply would cause lines to form at certain retailers. Some Web sites reported that using specific code words with in-store sales reps could get them to bring out a console from the stock room.

Supply, though, improved after that and Microsoft says that, by December, a cumulative 10 million Xbox 360s will have shipped. Microsoft, though, is still having trouble gaining traction in Japan.

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