A couple things...
- I'm glad Nintendo made the game pad and pro controller in shapes that wont cause the market to be flooded with tennis racket and baseball bat shells. That being said, I hope when the inevitable Mario Kart game comes out, it will support the Wii remote. I play MKWii primarily with the gamecube controller, but my 2nd preferred option was the Wii remote wheel.
- I believe that Nintendo is doing a far better job with this launch than they did with GameCube and Wii. We all know the clusterfuck that was the Wii launch and the GameCube launch was like the PS3 launch. Scarce for a week or so, then everywhere and it made it seem like nobody wanted it. Like others have said, I think the deluxe will be impossible to find (gets them publicity as being a must have Christmas item) whereas the basic will be quite common (they avoid the bad publicity of it being nowhere and pissing parents off).
- The launch line-up is excellent. I have NSMBU preordered at GameStop for pickup with my consoles, and Rayman and ZombiU at Newegg with $12 off codes.
- Stores are saying they don't know exactly how many deluxe models they'll be getting. Yet they had to have at least some kind of clue from Nintendo as to when pre-orders would be cut off. I sincerely hope that wasn't just Nintendo saying "stop pre-orders in three days" and was an actual number amount. Remember, Nintendo is not beyond under estimating their own products demand. Super Smash Bros Brawl was delayed in the USA for an extra month just one week before it's Feb 10th scheduled release simply because Nintendo didn't actually print enough discs to cover pre-orders.
Now...I do have a bit of a worry about this launch getting messy:
Again, pre-orders for the deluxe are sold out but stores don't know exactly how many they will have available. Yet they are all ensuring if you pre-ordered, you WILL get it upon release. It leaves one to wonder if there will be any deluxe models available at all for walk-ups. And if not, will stores be wise enough to inform people of this before hand? I can already see it: stores setting up their line up ares, with the traditional console launch "Wii U line starts here" sign at the front. And people will line up somewhere between 1 week and 1 day early and will camp out in tents, possibly with TV's and whatnot like what happened with Wii and PS3.
The store, about 4 hours in to people waiting sends somebody out to tell the crowd "We have six consoles available for walk-ups. We're sorry but the rest have been claimed by pre-orders. Then the normal pissed-offed-ness ensues. The first six people in line feel relieved and start feeling excited, smiling and hi-fiving each other. Everybody behind them is enraged. The minimum wage employee who is in charge of and responsible for nothing, but had the misfortune of making that "only 6 consoles" announcement gets bombarded by comments from dads who claim "when the
did you sell pre-orders for it? You're selling your stock before its in the store? That's fucking bull-shit. What's corporates phone number? What's your name?" and mom's who plead "I just waited outside in the freezing cold for four hours. This is the only thing my son asked for this year for Christmas and I told him Santa would bring it if he was a good boy. You're going to break a promise from Santa? Surely you can bring more consoles in from another store. Look at all these people who waited and you're just telling us this now?" Other people in line that weren't the first six start yelling in agreement. One of the first six shits his pants because he doesn't want to lose his place in line to go to the mcdonalds in the parking lot to use the bathroom.
The minimum wage employee, not wanting to deal with the complaints nor knowing what answers to give brings out the manager. The manager has been through many a console launch before and knew this would happen. He is a steel wall that complaints and insults bounce off of, simply repeating "i'm sorry, we simply do not have the stock", "pre-orders sold out a month ago, we made sure to keep some available for walk-ups but we can only sell what we're shipped", "try the store again next week, we'll be getting eight more consoles but we don't know what day they'll be arriving", "sorry no, we aren't doing rain-checks today because this isn't a sale or a promotion".
After angry parents, re-sellers, and not-so-angry high-school/college kids that weren't the first six in line leave, there are only eight people in line waiting. The six who will be getting the console (and their husbands/wives who came with to periodically go get coffee and mcmuffins and hold a spot for bathroom breaks) and two others who refuse to take no for an answer and decide to wait anyway. One angry the entire time, waiting there to prove some sort of point. One begging the other people in line to sell their spots. This guy eventually leaves. Another thirty minutes in, the angry guy leaves because "he has to go to work" or "i have better things to do
Now it's about and hour or less before the store opens. And about 8-12 other cars start to show up and the people in them walk up to the end of the line. The six in line confidently tell the first one of them that walks up that they are too late and the store is already sold out. This person doesn't seem worried and walks over the employee working the line-up area and says "Hey, I pre-ordered the Wii U deluxe. Do I wait here?" and the employee simply says "oh hi, actually pre-orders can wait over here" and points to the other side of the door. The pre-order folks aren't in any sort of line, they are all just hanging out and talking. Some of them are playing 3DS/DS/PSP/Vita/iOS games with each other. Some of them have a pizza. They're talking about games and the launch, making a few slightly voicey comments like "i'm so glad i pre-ordered this fucking thing". It very slightly annoys the lined-up folks.
Finally, the store opens. A few other early Christmas shoppers come in and get in the line thinking it's just to enter the store, but quickly pass by them and walk in to the walmart/best buy/gamestop/toys r us/wherever. The people in the walk-up line try enter the store and nearly-run to the counter they are told to go to. The pre-order folks walk in casually, one or two go over to the video game area or the soda cooler and grab something and then bring it up the counter. The outside line re-forms inside, making sure to remain in the same order they were in outside. The manager gets behind the counter. "Ok, Wii U customers just step over here. Pre-orders first." This annoys somebody in the walk-up line. "Why does it need to be pre-orders first? You said you had enough for pre-orders and enough for the six of us right?"
The first pre-order customer goes up. "Hi. Deluxe model for me. I still owe $XX.xx, and i'd also like (game) and (controller/accessory)." This happens about four more times. The manager calls out "any more pre-orders?" Nobody else comes up, so it's time for the walk-ups.
The first guy "Hi! Man it's chilly out there. How are you doing today? I'd like a deluxe model and Mario please. Also give me a pro-controller and a wii-remote if you can." The manager rings him up, and he happily goes on his way. The next person "Same for me deluxe model and..." this person gets cut off. "I'm sorry but we actually only have the basic model left". Upon hearing this 4 out of the remaining five in line are furious. "I WAITED ALL THAT TIME IN LINE, WAS ENSURED A SYSTEM BY YOU AND YOUR STAFF, AND NOW I'M BEING TOLD YOU DON'T HAVE ONE?" and the manager comes back with "Mam/sir, we have a system for you, we only have the basic console left though". The customer comes back with "I see several of the deluxe model sitting right there! I'd like one of those!" and the manager comes back with something that just irritates the hell out of walk-ups: "sorry, those are for pre-orders. Not everybody who pre-ordered has picked theirs up yet and we hold them for x amount of days." Now this customer is pissed the
off, but buys the basic console anyway, angrily. The next person doesn't care and gets a basic, nintendo land, and mario and happily leaves. The remaining walk-ups are either furious (one walks away buying nothing) or say "You've got no deluxe's left, huh?" in a desperate-hope kind of way, hoping they somehow just misunderstood what the manager said.
Another pre-order customer walks out of the bathroom, grabs some games, a digital camera, some av cords, etc and walks up to the counter to claim his deluxe pre-order. The manager sells it to him no problem. This happens a few more times. After this is over, there is one deluxe pre-order remaining to be picked up and one basic un-sold. Both are gone by the end of the day.
I suspect what I just typed could happen many times on launch day at stores across the country. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out.