During GameStop’s quarterly conference call, COO Dan DeMatteo said that he thinks Nintendo intentionally caused Wii supply shortages,while the CEO described the Euro PlayStation 3 launch as “good, not great.” More on console hardware sales within.
“I don’t think [Wii supply] going to be an issue going forward, and—it’s just my opinion—I think [Nintendo] intentionally dried up their supply because they made their numbers for the year," said DeMatteo in a Q&A session during GameStop's quarterly conference call. "[Nintendo's] new year starts April 1st, and I think we’re going to see supply flowing.
“We were concerned about the dryness [of Wii inventory] in March, but it looks like April is going to be good,” he said.
DeMatteo said that he expects the company to receive an allocation of Wii and DS hardware next week, and he’s “quite pleased with those numbers.”
He added that consumer acceptance of the Wii from both traditional and new customers has been “fantastic.”
Since its launch in the US in December, the Wii has been a hard-to-find item on store shelves, although persistent consumers have found it possible to acquire.
Those other consoles
DeMatteo also discussed the state of Wii's rivals. He said that the Xbox 360 has an installed base of over 5 million units in the US, and expects hardware sales growth of 4-5 million units this year.
He added that PS3 hardware sales are “holding steady” and that he expects games like Heavenly Sword and Lair to drive further hardware sales.
When asked by Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian about GameStop’s perception of the March 23 European PS3 launch, CEO R. Richard Fontaine said, “I think the summary of that was that it was a very good launch falling somewhat short of what [GameStop’s Euro managing directors] would call a ‘great launch.’”
The budget-oriented PS2 continues its strong sales and DeMatteo said that if sales slow down soon, Sony would be able to afford to cut the system’s price from $130 to $99, although he claimed to have no concrete knowledge that Sony would make such a move soon.
DeMatteo described DS Lite sales in the US as “phenomenal” with over 5 million sold in 2006, making it the company’s best-selling system of the year. GameStop expects that sales will hold steady this year, with shortages becoming less common.
As for the PSP Sony sold over 3 million units in the US last year, and expects the same performance this year. He said that PSP’s market expansion could improve “if Sony would choose make a price move on either the hardware, software or both.”
GameStop also expects that the long-awaited PSP version of Gran Turismo to arrive this fall—a game that could give the PSP a significant boost, DeMatteo said.
This morning, GameStop announced it had generated over $5.3 billion for fiscal 2006.