Report: Not many Nintendo Wii U units to go around at launch

nintendo wii u supply tight premium
Wii u everything you need to know pricing launch release date

Nintendo’s Wii U will be out in November, but it’s not entirely clear how many of them will actually be sent out into the wild to be snatched up by rabid fans and parents who want the latest and greatest machine under the Christmas tree. Nintendo said during its quarterly earnings report earlier this week that it expects to sell 5.5 million Wii U consoles between November and the end of March. As that release day gets closer, its becoming clear that Nintendo may be basing those estimates on the low number of consoles that will actually be available.

Shortly after Nintendo announced the Wii U’s release date and price in September, a number of retailers including GameStop stopped taking pre-orders for the console. Nintendo of America president Reggis Fils-Aime said at the time that he thought supplies would be adequate. “We’ve learned a lot of lessons from the launch of the DS, the launch of the Wii, and the launch of the 3DS. And our supply chain is solid,” said Fils-Aime, “We want to satisfy all of the demand that’s out there.”

This week Nintendo confirmed that GameStop had sold 250,000 additional “wait list” pre-orders for the Wii U, guarantees for customers looking to get the system whenever they might become available. While that statistic certainly suggests demand for Nintendo’s new device, it also suggests that rumors about Nintendo’s Wii U manufacturing problems hold some truth. In August, word was that Nintendo might even have to detail the console’s European release due to problems manufacturing its signature tablet controller.

Further demonstrating Nintendo’s supply problems is a Thursday report from Computer and Video Games. An anonymous retailer told that outlet that Nintendo would be shipping a paltry 25,000 Wii U consoles in the UK on launch day. Another retailer confirmed that figure. While a third source said it was expecting “between 75,000 and 100,000 units during the launch period,” they also said that Nintendo hadn’t indicated when those systems might be made available.

Nintendo UK failed to quell concerns. “Wii U stock levels will be tight on day one,” said a representative, “However, we will be providing retailers with regular stock deliveries in the run up to Christmas in order to meet demand as quickly as possible.”

Scarcity can be a good thing for technology companies, driving demand to a fever pitch. Since Nintendo is selling its console at a loss, though, it needs to be selling software at a strong clip to make up for lost revenue. If people can’t buy the machine, they won’t be buying the games.


Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From DirectX Box to 720, it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.

Experience true immersion with these top-notch PS4 headsets

You don't have to stick with a shoddy headset because it came bundled with your console. These are the best headsets for the PlayStation 4, whether you're in the market for virtual surround sound or merely a comfortable build.

Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.

Cyberpunk 2077 dev speaks on gameplay and Witcher 3 Easter eggs

A Spanish publication had the opportunity to pick the brain of Cyberpunk 2077's quest director at CD Projekt Red and he speaks on gameplay changes, player choice, and how the team approaches Easter eggs across games.
Product Review

Gloriously gory and fantastically fluid: Mortal Kombat 11 is the best one yet

Mortal Kombatt 11 reinforces NetherRealm Studios’ status as the greatest western fighting developer on the planet, building on what made Mortal Kombat X so great while adding in a few new tricks.

Asus launches a fleet of ROG gaming laptops with 240Hz screens and 9th-gen CPUs

Asus launched updates to nearly every gaming laptop line they have, ranging from the high-end Zephyrus to the budget-level TUF Gaming. The naming schemes might be hard to parse, but there are some impressive options in Asus' new lineup.

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.

A guide to climbing the Klassic Tower and Towers of Time in Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 has two Towers modes: Klassic and the Towers of Time. Klassic is an offline mode, whereas Towers of Time is an online revolving door of challenges that force you to deal with combat modifiers and wield trusty Konsumables.

Master Mortal Kombat 11's cryptic Krypt and get the best rewards

Once you complete the story mode in Mortal Kombat 11 and try out the Towers, you'll head into the Krypt to get your rewards. In our Mortal Kombat 11 Krypt guide, we'll show you how to make the most of it.

Swing Thor’s Stormbreaker during the Fortnite-Avengers: Endgame crossover

Epic Games revealed a new crossover with Marvel and Disney's Avengers: Endgame film, showing off Captain America's shield. Players will also get to summon the powers of a god as well when they wield Thor's Stormbreaker.

Here's our guide to becoming a master of Fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11

Fatalities are the bread and butt of any Mortal Kombat game, and they're particularly brutal in Mortal Kombat 11. Here's how to do Fatalities in the game, and how you can unlock new ones.

Acer gives Predator, Nitro gaming notebooks CPU and GPU upgrades

Acer's latest gaming notebooks will be getting a processor and graphics boost. The company announced that Intel's ninth-generation mobile CPU and Nvidia's GTX 1660 Ti will land on the Predator Helios 300, Nitro 7, and Nitro 5 laptops.