When Wii U pre-orders opened in September, the console sold out less than a week later. Nintendo was rumored to have allocated as many as 400,000 units for pre-orders in North America, and those consoles have been sold out for weeks now. GameStop’s waiting list for a Wii U has surpassed 250,000 gamers, Nintendo revealed last month.
The biggest game retailer in the world, GameStop, announced last month that Wii U pre-orders were “off the charts“. In the UK, game retailer GAME said that pre-orders were “exceeding expectations“. And it certainly appears so, as there is no pre-order inventory anywhere.
But how does the current pre-order success compare to the original Wii, which is the best selling home console in Nintendo’s history? Wii U Daily spoke to half a dozen game retailers across California, some independent establishments and some which were part of larger chains. Every single one of them reported that the Wii U currently has more pre-orders than the original Wii back in 2006.
One retailer in Los Angeles told us that Wii U pre-orders are about 3:1 compared to the Wii, while others are seeing anywhere from 50 to 100 percent increase in pre-orders for the new console compared to the old. This isn’t that big of a surprise, actually, since the Wii was a new phenomenon back in 2006. Today, “Wii” is an established brand, and its easy to see the Wii U attract more pre-orders than the original console. Even if it’s highly unlikely that the Wii U will surpass the Wii in terms of total sales.
When the Wii launched back in 2006, it was sold out for many months to come. If the Wii U is already getting more pre-orders, we’re likely to see shortages and sell outs once it hits the stores. Analyst Michael Pachter recently said that he too believes the Wii U will sell out until next year, despite Nintendo manufacturing “1 million Wii U consoles per month”.
Nintendo is rumored to allocate 1.5 million Wii U consoles for North America in 2012, while shortages are expected in the UK. According to Nintendo, the UK Wii U supplies will be “tight”, with as few as 25,000 consoles available on launch day.
The Wii U launches on November 18 in North America in two flavors: a $299 Basic set, and a $349 Deluxe set with a few accessories and a copy of Nintendo Land.