Wii Shopping

10:15 AM -- There is more than one way to buy a Nintendo Wii.

You can go to Best Buy, get the games/music department guy -- he's wearing a blue polo uni and smells like a bong -- to tell you when the next truck is coming in. Granted, the Best Buy guys don't always know what specific merchandise is coming on the truck. But I've been told there is a steady stream of Wiis (ha!) flowing to stores. They sell out fast, so get a source on the inside if you're committed to owning a console, and not much else.

If you choose Wal-Mart, Gamestop, and other retailers, grab a bigger shopping cart (and a fatter wallet). Most retailers are taking advantage of the Wii's short supply, and they're forcing consumers to buy several game titles, and an accessory or two, in addition to the console.

Is this great for games makers? Well, yes in that more games are moving off store shelves. But don't be fooled into thinking this is some marketing deal between Nintendo and any particular content developer.

"This is definitely something retailers are doing to line their pockets," says Simon Carless, editorial director at Gamasutra.com. "It happens at console launches, normally." But, he adds, apparently the constrained supply is giving retailers a chance to soak consumers for more money per transaction than they'd normally get from your average Wii shopper.

The bundle isn't totally evil if you already planned to spring for a couple of games and an extra remote. If you didn't, get ready for sticker shock. The point of these isn't to move content, to promote cool titles, or to save consumers money.

At least one market researcher is saying the Wii will continue to dominate other games platforms until well into 2008, so don't expect the bundle-busting to begin until sales start slipping. — Phil Harvey, Barely Managing Editor, Light Reading

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