Almost immediately after the Wii U's release date was announced last week most major U.S. retailers made the console available for pre-order, and within just a few short days the console has clearly become a big ticket item. Gamestop sold out of the Deluxe version both online and in store in less than 24 hours (the Basic version is still available). While it took a little bit longer, it's just about the same story for the online shops at Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Target, except those retailers are out of both models. Just about everyone is already pre-sold out of their entire stock including Sears and K-Mart. Wal-Mart appears to be the lone retailer left offering up the console for pre-order, both as standalone purchases and as part of bundles. Online retailer Amazon, has yet to even list Nintendo's latest console, following a recent trend of shying away from carrying Nintendo products (try buying a 3DS from them, I dare ya).
While it isn't surprising for a new video game console to be in scarse supply its first holiday season on the market - that's almost to be expected at this point - these early sales appear to be either first adopters looking to get their hands on the latest gaming tech, or possibly resellers hoping to make a few bucks on needy shoppers. Either way, these sales should make Nintendo happy, proving that people do actually want the Wii U. Speaking with Nintendo's Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Charlie Scibetta, last week, following the Wii U's announcement, he outlined who he thinks is likely to be purchasing each SKU of the system.
"Your value consumer, that may be a little short on funds, is certainly going to gravitate towards basic SKU. The other kind of buyer that would gravitate towards that is if you want another initial game that isn’t Nintendoland for example, you can buy the lesser cost system, and then buy whatever other game you want with the extra $50.
If you like Nintendoland ... you get a great value with that bundled in. You also get the extra memory. If you like the color black as opposed to white on your console - which a lot of core gamers do, they're like the look of that better."
He went on to make a very good point about the gamepad and the console that a lot of gamers have not had to think about in the past.
"A lot of times with a console, you stick it under a tv or in a cabinet, and you don't look at it too much, but with gamepad, you're going to be seeing it front and center in your living room or your family room pretty much every day, especially if you use Nintendo TVii, even if you're not playing games that day. The look of that black finish is really nice."
Having to consider both a new gaming console, and a new universal remote hasn't been an issue for gamers in the past, and while it might not be the first thing that crosses their mind now, it's still a very real consideration. Either way, it's looking like the Wii U may be this holiday's Wii, so if you think you're going to want one, you're going to want to get on that as soon as possible.