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GameStop: ‘We have to be pragmatic’ about the launch of Nintendo’s Wii U

Mystery and intrigue continues to surround the launch of the Wii U. Nintendo said its new console is arriving on store shelves sometime later this year, but it has yet to provide a specific release date.

During GameStop’s second quarter earnings call this morning, the world’s largest game retailer remains adamant that the Wii U will launch this fall despite investors’ verbal concerns in a question-and -answer session.

“We have to be pragmatic about the Wii U,” said Paul Raines, the chief executive officer of GameStop. “We do have a Wii U launch built into our plans this holiday…. There is going to be a Wii U.”

One caller asked how prepared GameStop is if Nintendo’s naysayers turn out to be right and the Wii U doesn’t sell so well at all in the holiday season. “We’ll talk about what we said all along,” said Robert Lloyd, the chief financial officer of GameStop. “We’re cautious, because we’ve been through Nintendo launches before. We’re confident that we’ll get a nice share of [console] allocations. [But] we can’t control the overall quantity in the market.”

“Our market share now is roughly doubled,” Raines said. “There are naysayers [on the Wii U], it’s true. But if you believe that device will get any sales at all, GameStop will get an outsized [piece] of that.”

GameStop president Tony Bartel added that Nintendo is planning a strong multimedia ad campaign for the Wii U. “We see tremendous demand and interest in [new] consoles,” he said, “evidenced by our capability to do contests and surveys with our customers. Even among our employees, there is strong excitement for the Wii U.”

“There is tremendous appetite for IP on the new consoles,” said Raines. “[Such as the reaction to] seeing Pikmin for the Wii U at E3. [But] the challenge is consumers have to see innovation.”


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