Hey, watch out how you swing that Wii wand
People may be a bit too energetic with the new game console, with reports of the wrist strap coming off, sending the remote controller flying.
The Associated Press
TOKYO — The maker of the new Wii video-game consoles said Thursday it is investigating reports of problems with a strap that secures the machines' wandlike remote-controller to the player's wrist.
Players hold the Wii's signature remote to mimic the motions of a tennis racket, golf club or sword, depending on the game.
At least two Web sites have been created to collect photos that purportedly show damage — such as broken glass and TVs — from the strap coming off players as they swung around the controller, at times causing the remote to fly out of their hands.
"Some people are getting a lot more excited than we'd expected," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said. "We need to better communicate to people how to deal with Wii as a new form of entertainment."
Nintendo hopes the ease of the controls will draw a new generation of players as the maker of the Pokémon and Super Mario games is locked in a fierce three-way battle with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360.
Nintendo has not decided on any specific steps to change the strap, spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa said.
Iwata also said Nintendo may raise its sales target for the Wii, which is selling out at retailers since going on sale in recent weeks in the U.S. and Japan.
He said he wants to see how Christmas sales go before revising Nintendo's target of 6 million Wii consoles sold by the end of March.
"I'm not ruling that out entirely, but it's premature to say it now," Iwata said at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo.
Nintendo has delivered more machines to consumers than Sony has, partly because of Sony's production problems.
Nintendo has shipped about 400,000 Wii machines in Japan and more than 600,000 in North America. The Wii went on sale Thursday in Australia and is going on sale today in Europe.
Sony readied just 100,000 PS3 machines for the Japanese launch and 400,000 consoles for its U.S. debut. Its European launch has been pushed back until March.
Sony has promised 2 million PS3s worldwide by the end of the year, while Nintendo is targeting 4 million Wii units during the same period.
Both Sony and Nintendo project selling 6 million by the end of March. Microsoft, which launched the Xbox 360 a year ago, expects to sell more than 10 million systems by the end of this month.
Selling machines in high volumes is crucial in the gaming business, because hot-selling formats attract software companies to make more games. That, in turn, boost console sales.
Sony's previous generation consoles commanded 70 percent of the market, with more than 200 million PlayStation series machines sold worldwide over the years.
Iwata said Nintendo wasn't competing against Sony and would rather reach out to novice players, older people and others new to games.
Analysts say the novel controller helps Wii appeal to inexperienced players and has a price advantage at $250 — about half the cost of a low-end PS3 and $50 less than the cheapest Xbox 360. The top PS3 costs $600.
The analysts expect Wii to mount a serious challenge to Sony, although the verdict on next-generation machines is out for a couple of years.
Sony expects to rack up $1.7 billion in red ink in its game unit for the fiscal year ending in March, much of it in PS3 startup costs.
Nintendo forecasts profit of $845 million for the fiscal year, as Wii buoys earnings in the second half.