Nintendo and GameStop to guarantee Wiis after holiday

Nintendo Co Ltd said on Friday it will offer a "rain check" program to deliver the Wii in January to shoppers who can't buy the game console during the holiday season due to inventory shortages. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told a telephone news conference that shoppers who pay the full price of about $249 for an out-of-stock Wii on December 20 and 21 at retailer GameStop Corp will get a certificate promising a Wii "sometime in January." The program is exclusive to GameStop. The executive declined to say how many units would be available, but noted that the video game specialty retailer had "many tens of thousands" of rain checks.

"We expect this to be a very strong program and ... a great way for consumers who desperately want a Wii to be able to have something to put under the tree -- a certificate that guarantees their family will be able to get a system in January," he said. Fils-Aime also said several national U.S. retailers, including Best Buy Co Inc, Sears Holdings Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, will have Wiis available this weekend and in the coming week. The Wii has been in hot demand due largely to its unique motion-sensing controller and simpler games that have drawn customers outside the traditional base of young males. Nintendo remained on top of the U.S. game hardware in November, selling 981,000 Wiis, according to market research firm NPD.

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