If you're in the market for a PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii, you've probably noticed that they're hard to come by. Most online retailers are sold out and if you call around, it's likely that most brick-and-mortar shops are sold out, too. One of those shops, GameStop, said in a recent earnings call with investors that those shortages are expected to continue.
"I am not exactly sure that I have a total answer, obviously, it is a question that we ask the platform holders," Bartel said in response to an investor question on why shortages continue to plague the market. "Consequently, I can tell you that we do anticipate that we will be in that situation for the PS3 for another couple of months, unfortunately, because we could sell a lot more hardware than what we have on both that and the Wii platform."
Bartel went on to tell investors that his company expects to have Wii in-stock sooner than the PS3, but it will still take some time.
"So we do anticipate that those shortages should have bade some time before the next couple of months," Bartel said.
Only Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is readily available in most stores.
Bartel also pointed out that he doesn't "have clarity as to why" both Nintendo and Sony are experiencing such shortages. He said that "unprecedented demand" could be a leading cause and both Nintendo and Sony are "still scrambling to catch up from the December surge of hardware that occurred."
Nintendo's shortage woes have been going on since the Wii was released. For a while, the company got ahead of demand, but it still suffers from supply problems that, frankly, should have been taken care of by now.
Nintendo realizes that its supply issues need to be addressed. And according to the company, it's working hard on it.
"Even with healthy sales, we realize that there are missed opportunities had supply been able to keep up with demand," a company representative wrote in an e-mailed statement. "Wii hardware shortages, which affected approximately 70 percent of all retail locations during February, are being remedied. As the inventory situation improves, we'll also see a pickup of retail promotional activities in March and April. We are taking every effort to assure that every consumer who wants to purchase a Wii can do so as quickly and easily as possible."
Sony's shortage issues are new in the market. For a while, Sony couldn't get PlayStation 3 units to leave store shelves due to higher demand for the Wii and Xbox 360.
But thanks to the $299 PS3 Slim, consumers are finally starting to buy Sony's console. PS3 sales have been so torrid that NPD reported earlier this month the console's sales in February were up 30 percent year over year.
Shortages are bittersweet for hardware makers. On one hand, being in high demand is a good thing. On the other hand, the products are not on store shelves and consumers might be discouraged by the lack of availability. In either case, the sooner Sony and Nintendo can bring enough consoles to the market, the better.
Sony did not immediately respond to request for comment.