Amazon offers Nintendo Wii’s, fails to deliver?

UPDATE: New York Times interview with Missing From Internet: Avid Shoppers’ Sharp Elbows [Screenshot or Print Version]

November 19th has come and, for the most part, past. While I admit to having passed on the idea of acquiring a slick Sony PS3 ($500) console, my goal was to end the day with an even slicker Nintendo Wii ($250) console to toy with during this coming week. Unfortunately, there are no Wii delivery confirmation emails in my inbox. Rather, all that is left from today is frustration with an online service which I have grown quite attached to and reliant of. That service being Amazon.com.

When the Nintendo Wii was announced to have a tentative launch date of November 19th, gaming fans rejoiced and planned their schedules accordingly. In order to guarantee one of the limited release date units, gamers anticipated long lines snaking far beyond the sight of the front doors of electronics stores. I, however, opted to try my luck using a different route. One which would allow me to relax comfortably at home with nothing more than a reliable internet connection and Amazon.com.

I submitted my email for Amazon’s announcement list concerning the availability of the Wii console and received the following message one week prior to the official launch day:

The Nintendo Wii will be available for purchase on Amazon.com on 11/19, Sunday morning (PST). We will be limiting purchases to one per household and we anticipate that we will sell through our inventory very quickly [...] We expect to receive periodic shipments of the Wii from Nintendo throughout the holidays and we will post availability updates on the product detail page as well as in the customer discussions on the Nintendo Wii product page.

Disgruntled customer am I? Not at all. Frustrated? Quite a bit. Amazon has offered pre-orders on electronics – requesting payment information including automatic updates concerning product availability and ship dates. Their handling of the Wii launch was nothing short of unspectacular – nothing that I would have expected.

  • Where were the pre-orders?
  • No accurate corrections sent to patient customers looking for updates
  • CSR’s continually informing customers over the phone that the unit would be made available – “just keep refreshing”
  • Actual Wii unit availability – limited. How limited?
  • Deletion of approximately 600+ comments from customer discussion seeking answers.

It is difficult to continue being a loyal Prime customer only to see potentially strong launch dates crumble into dust. Simple economics. A high demand was anticipated. A little more professionalism to sort out unit availability – prior to launch times – including email announcements would have gone a long way to retain loyal customers. Amazon is now reporting that the initial stock was sold out in less than a minute. Believable? That’s for others to decide. I know for a fact that I’ve used Amazon for pre-orders of high demand devices, what would make this release any different?

In hindsight, the chances of netting a console while waiting outside would have been more favorable.

Discuss - 9 Comments

  1. I was extremely lucky for getting my preorder at Amazon while “maintenance” was being done on the Wii page, and I was even luckier for having Amazon validate my preorder. We always face some kind of frenzy during these famous system launches one way or the other.

  2. Derek says:

    About what time did you place your order?

  3. Andy says:

    Sorry to hear about your issues Derek. I’d be interested to hear what you think of the Wii once you get hold of it.

  4. Derek says:

    I’ll return to the hunt tomorrow. Hopefully I won’t succumb to purchasing one of the incredible price gouging consoles that sellers are making 200%+ profit off of online.

  5. October 27th in the morning was the time I placed my lucky preorder. If interested, I made a quick post about it back then: http://www.explodingbarrels.net/2006/10/27/wii-preorder-at-amazon/

  6. Derek says:

    Argh, and here I was thinking that they did not offer pre-orders. I wonder why their email did not share that information. I wonder if the units that were reserved for sale or which claimed to be available on 11/19 had already been alloted to those who had placed pre-orders.

  7. [...] New York Times: How to get to be the first in line As a follow-up to yesterdays Amazon offers Nintendo Wii’s, fails to deliver?, Matt Ritchel of the New York Times (Technology) published a short piece concerning the experiences of shopping for a Nintendo Wii using the more traditional wait-in-line in front of a brick ‘n mortar vs. shopping online with Missing From Internet: Avid Shoppers’ Sharp Elbows. Mr. Ritchel was kind enough to get in touch for my personal take on the experience of shopping with Amazon.com. Many were sorely disappointed. Derek Punsalan, a 23-year-old Web designer in Seattle, kept clicking until 4 a.m., when he went to bed. He was back when the Wii finally went on sale at 8 a.m. but missed his chance to get one; the $250 consoles sold out in less than a minute. [...]

  8. TJ says:

    I already have a wii so i dont have to worrie about anything

  9. [...] lucky enough, and a New York Times editor is interested, they’ll stumble upon your post about missing out on this years hard-to-get gaming console and include you in their NYTimes Technology article. It’s a completely different vibe seeing [...]