Sometimes Finding a Wii U to Buy Ain't Easy
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Take Poland, for example
Since publication, the writer of the source article — R J Burgess — has kindly been in touch. As his blog about the challenges of finding a Wii U in Poland was written in June, he's provided us with the following update on the status of Nintendo content — from his experience — in the country; it seems to tie in with reports that the distributor of Nintendo goods in the region is no longer used.
Basically, the Wii U and 3DS are still non-existent over here. It's really weird since until about December last year, Wii and DS software was really easy to find. It wasn't exactly cheap, don't get me wrong, nor very visible, but at least it was there! In my local Media Markt, for example, there used to be 7 rows of shelving devoted to PS3 stuff, 5 to XBox 360 and just one for both Wii and DS. However, from December onwards, it all just disappeared. Very quickly too. These days, you can still see areas in shops where the old Nintendo stuff used to be — the signs are still there! — but the Nintendo software itself is nowhere to be found. The Media Markt where I used to buy my games from now sells PS2 games where the Nintendo games used to be. PS2!
Something is very wrong with the world...
We're very aware here at Nintendo Life that, at times, references to North America and PAL regions when related to releases or pre-orders can ring hollow for some readers. There are countries within or near these regions where getting hold of the latest game of even a Nintendo console is a difficult, expensive undertaking, and we don't and often can't do justice to issues in individual areas.
One of these areas, perhaps, is Poland. A blog post from R J Burgess, who teaches English there, was written prior to E3 — we know it's an old post, bear with us — and outlined the challenges he encountered tracking down a Wii U in the country. An early wedding gift from his fiance, he explains how a detailed search around Wroclaw (the 4th largest city in Poland with a population of 600,000) yielded no results, until they stumbled upon a system at an appliance store.
We went to the shop in high spirits only to find that the promised Wii U wasn’t on display anywhere. In the end we had to ask the sales assistant to help us. We showed him a printout from his company’s website and the part number we were looking for. He looked at it, scratched his head for a little while and then sheepishly admitted that he had no idea what we were talking about. He then disappeared into the stockroom for a good ten minutes only to eventually return with a battered, dust-covered box that looked as though it hadn’t been touched in months.
And, need I remind you — this was the only Wii U I’d managed to find on sale in the whole of Wroclaw after five months of dedicated searching.
Burgess describes Wroclaw as a city with a strong IT community, yet his research in June showed the Wii U in last place for games in development by companies in the city. It's also explained that while regional 360 and PS3 games have Polish translations, Nintendo's reportedly do not.
Poland is in the top ten for the largest countries in Europe and is geographically sharing its Western border with Germany. The issues that Burgess had finding a single Wii U, and his tales regarding finding games — he imports most through online retailers — are rather disappointing to read. While it's tempting to dismiss the report as out of date, we'd suggest that any progress — if any — since then may have been limited. A visit to the Polish Nintendo site (http://microsite.nintendo-europe.com/poland-europe/) at the time of writing brings up a single page with the following text in Polish and English.
Nintendo of Europe will restructure its operations in Poland with immediate effect. We wish to assure our consumers in Poland that we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that they will continue to have access to our usual consumer support services and meanwhile we will be urgently exploring new ways of bringing our products and experiences to the Polish market. A further announcement about this will follow in due course.
For any consumer enquiries, please contact:
We'll follow up with that contact email to see what update, if any, is available. Naturally it's a major challenge for companies to provide solid support to all countries and territories, though in the case of Poland a perceived lack of presence seems slightly surprising.
If you're from Poland or any other country where you feel it's difficult to buy and access Nintendo games and consoles, please share your experiences in the comments below.