As was previously reported here, GameStop and Nintendo of America have teamed up this holiday season to save Christmas like Ebenezer Scrooge after his ghostly visits. However, this time Scrooge has an agenda. The “Rain Check” program announced a few days ago promises people Wiis after the holiday season. Today, GameStop came forward and released a few of the details that weren’t exactly clear when Reggie Fils-Aime sent out the first announcement.
Here are the facts according to GameStop. The systems will cost the full $249.99 plus tax. At that price, all you’ll get at the counter is a DVD case with Mario wishing on a Wii saying “Happy Holidays! Your Wii is on the way!” Inside of this pretty package will be the coveted “Guarantee Slip” with all of the details about picking up your Wii. An automated phone call will be made to your house when the Wii made special for you arrives. From that point you have until January 25, 2008 to pick it up from the same store it was paid for at.
The real eyebrow raising, new detail is that there will be only one day to reserve Wiis. December 21, 2007 will be Black Friday part deux. The deal dictates that the Wii must be ordered in person, so no rigging your phone to call your local GameStop at nine in the morning when they open. Of course, if you’re ordering a Wii special, as they’re making it sound, it stands to reason that it will be an unlimited supply. If you can pay for it, you should be able to get it.
Each location will have a limited number of Wiis and you can only order one per household. So according to the deal, all you’re doing is guaranteeing that you will receive one of the systems that they were planning on making anyway. So it’s not even pre-ordering, it’s back-ordering. Sadly, if you don’t make it in time to get one of those, all that’s left is a very un-merry Christmas. GameStop has admitted that other locations will be putting a lot of units on shelves in the coming days, but still contend that this is the best way to guarantee a Wii for Christmas because it provides “piece of mind” for the addled holiday shoppers.
This deal just keeps getting worse and worse. First Nintendo tells us that they won’t be producing enough units. Then they tell us we’ll be able to reserve them for the holiday season. Now we’re told that we still might not get a system through the “Rain Check” program. Really what Nintendo and GameStop have just done is further disappointed their customers.
A nervous father trying to get his child a Wii might be told that not only can they not get a Wii, but also they might not even be able to get a “Rain Check” Wii. What lucky consumers get as a consolation prize is the most insulting part of all. Nintendo and GameStop can’t pony up and give a free Wii-mote or copy of Mario Galaxy. There’s not even a free copy of Red Steel in this con-job. All there is for diligent Nintendo fans is a decorative, yet empty, DVD case.
It’s my opinion that Nintendo of America and GameStop are up to no good. It might be worth it for some enthusiastic statistician to cross-reference the number of Wiis available for the “Rain Check” program against the amount of money Nintendo projected to make this quarter. Furthermore I predict that come January 26, 2008, or sometime close to that, the price of the Wii will drop to the neighborhood of $219.99. The really frightening part is that even with the lurking darkness surrounding this deal people seem to be okay with it.
My advice to shoppers this December 21 is to go anywhere else to try and find a Wii in stock. Failing to do that, explain to Little Billy and Suzie that the Nintendo Wii, just like Santa, isn’t real.