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Nintendo Wii may be scarce for holidays
(Adds details, quotes, background, byline)
By Kemp Powers
SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 11 (Reuters) - Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s (7974.OS) hit Wii video game consoles will still be scarce this holiday season, a senior executive said on Wednesday. Nintendo promised that some 100 new games for the Wii, known for its motion-sensitive controller which can be swung like a bat or brandished like a sword, will debut by the end of the year. It also showed off a pistol-style controller and motion-sensitive pad for dancing and walking.
But not everyone may be able to get even the basic console in time for the year's main buying season.
"There is no guarantee that we are not going to have 'out-of-stocks' this holiday season," George Harrison, senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Nintendo of America, said in an interview. "If you see one, buy it. Don't assume that you can come back later and find one."
Harrison added that the company was ramping up production, but that parts manufacturers were still trying to gauge how much they need to produce to keep up with demand.
"We're trying to figure out what's the reasonable monthly level, and as we've seen every time we ship product to the market, whether it's in Japan or here in the U.S. or in Europe, it sells out in a matter of days," Harrison said.
The Wii's quirky remote and a relatively low price tag have made the Wii stand out compared with the powerful Xbox 360 from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) and PlayStation 3 from Sony Corp. (6758.T).
At the kick-off to E3, the industry's most important event of the year, Nintendo rolled out a number of new controllers.
The Wii Zapper, which forms a gun from Nintendo's standard controllers, will debut this year and offer better play for shooting and war game fans, a hard core audience that has been secondary to Nintendo's focus on casual games.
A new pressure-sensing mat, dubbed the Balance Board, will come out next year -- after this year's holiday buying season. The mat can sense when a person moves and leans, letting players head virtual soccer balls "thrown" at them, for instance.
A steering wheel for racing games is due out in the first half of next year.
((Reporting by Kemp Powers, editing by Richard Chang; Tel: 213 380 2014)) Keywords: GAMESEXPO/NINTENDO
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