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Wii Don’t Need This Behavior

12/20/2006 02:26:00 AM

In a world where parents of teens and pre-teens attack coaches and opponents of their children’s teams, where road rage has escalated to shootings, the mob mentality in a story I read on CNN.com yesterday was not too surprising. Disheartening, but not surprising.

One of their reporters, Krysten Peek, went shopping for a Nintendo Wii and decided to stay on line. She realized immediately that she was the only woman in a decidedly male world and she commented, "All of them were way too serious about this; full of anxiety and tension."

As luck would have it, after two hours she got her Wii as a present for her boyfriend. As she paid for the system, a store manager basically said, "No more today. The show’s over." Well not quite. All that resentment and frustration turned quickly from store management to her. They made snide remarks, offered triple the price and finally began to grab at the bag. A security guard and the police came to the rescue.

All of this mob rule over a video game system. Even though it is the holiday gift-giving season, I’ve got to think that many of the 20- or 30-something guys on line weren’t buying Wii for gifts, but themselves. That’s just a hunch since the bulk of gamers out there started when they were kids 15 or 20 years ago and, if this story is any indication, still haven’t grown up.

There is never any excuse for this type of behavior. But especially during a time of war, when men and women who are younger and older than those guys on line are risking life and limb for our country, and during the holiday season such behavior is despicable.

So much for "Peace on Earth and goodwill to all."

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Here are a couple of unrelated notes about Wii and about the video game console business that I have observed over the years:

1. Wii is surprisingly popular because it is just a game system. It can’t play high-definition discs; have the potential to become the hub of a home network; or might be able to cure the common cold. The unit is said to be relatively simple: it is video game machine that provides a great experience and does not claim to be a multifunction entertainment device.

2. I’ve seen enough video game console introductions to know something about the introduction cycle:

  • Twelve to 18 months before a system is introduced info is strategically leaked about an "X" project for a next generation unit;
  • Analysts and the media go nuts for months to discover possible features;
  • Info is leaked or sketchy info is provided at CES where manufacturers say shipments will roll out "this fall in time for the holiday season!"
  • By Oct. 1 delays are announced, but the manufacturer announces more titles and confirms how many will be sold by Dec. 31;
  • Shipments are made in mid-November and for a hit there are rave reviews by the media, analysts, bloggers, etc.
  • There are shortages no matter what happens and, if the system is a hit, sales for that holiday season will be a very small percentage of the following year’s volume.

3. Given all the agita (Italian for heartburn) involved in getting a new game system for yourself or a loved one for Christmas, why not get a rain check and pick one up when supplies, miraculously, free up by mid-January? After the holidays, in the dead of winter, is a perfect time to hunker down with a new game system and plenty of titles.

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