Despite what seems to be an overly excessive amount of hype over Wii preorders, it has come to my attention that very few people actually understand the procedure of a preorder.
If I'm reading the sentiment correctly, what's on the forefront of people's minds breaks down as such:
90% - Were not able to preorder but are at least mildly concerned about aquiring a system at launch
9% - Do not care about preorders and are just looking forward to camping out at launch
1% - Have aquired a preorder and are still anxious about getting one at launch
Although there's a pretty wide margin between the three categories, allow me to express to you that the feelings are unanimous: We're all anxious- just some less than others and some for other reasons.
I'll start off by explaining that where I derrive this insight from is directly in the heart of the beast; I am in that slim percentile of people who was lucky enough to preorder this morning.
The haves and have nots show a flagrant distinction around the time of the latest "must have" release, but for some, the "must have" attitude lands you a place at the front of the line- at 6:30PM yesterday(the sad and mildly whimsical part of this is that second, third, fourth, and fifth arrived a good ten hours later).
Arriving at 6:30 AM, I happened to be tenth in line with a clipboard numbered to ten being passed around, so needless to say, you can understand my mindset at that point.
Eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen(one of which being of the lucky few to attend E3) behind me were turned away, with those standing breathing a sigh of relief. The difference between their arrival and mine was an hour, giving you a figure of what to expect at launch(to stay on the safe side, halve it twice and those are the kind of arrival times you should be apprehensive about).
Now, while those like me are busy kissing their reciepts and dancing around their residences/offices/schools/etc, I'll bring everyone back to reality.
Hopefully this will benefit that 90% of you that were disappointed:
While GameStop/EBGames and probably every other store recommends that you preorder to ensure you can buy a console on launch day, they cannot reserve a system for you.
The only function of a preorder is that it gives corporate a ballpark amount of how many units to ship to a certain store. This doesn't guarantee that your preorder won't become someone else's launch day purchase.
For example, if a store only gets one preorder for an item(as is the case with really crappy games), corporate will only send one additional copy of that game, making the count X + 1, where X is their original bulk amount.
The manager at the store I went to expressed deep concern about the XBox 360 fiasco and Ebayers, hence limiting their preorders to 10 people at one per household. Furthermore, GameStop's new policy entails browsing Ebay to look for anyone selling their preorders. Anyone caught will have their preorder cancelled. He went on to say that only he and an employee were purchasing a Wii, bringing their store total to X + 12.
This does not shed any light on how many units they are or aren't expecting. Just because their liability is limited to 10 people, doesn't mean they aren't already expecting double, triple, or quadruple that.
Nintendo intends to have 2 million units at launch, which means their worst case scenario is near or beyond 2 million, give or take a hundred. If you do the math, it turns out that there will probably be 200,000 consoles for Canada and some regions of Mexico, leaving 1.8 million consoles for the United States.
Halve that to find out how many consoles will be divided among video game stores(GameStop/EBGames, GameCrazy, etc). The rest will go to your Targets, Walmarts, Toys R Us', etc. This leaves 900,000 units for each.
If you figure that there are 4,400 GameStop/EBGames locations and only 700 GameCrazy locations, the worst case scenario would be between 20 and 50 consoles per store, with our best odds being 100+ per store per hundred miles.
With that, I urge you not to be concerned, because I have a strong suspicion that this will be one launch where the majority of the units are bought from store shelves, not Ebay, nor the trunk of someone's car.
Good luck on launch.