Skip to main content

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

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Wii u everything you need to know pricing launch release date
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Anthony John Agnello
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Anthony John Agnello is a writer living in New York. He works as the Community Manager of and his writing has…
Best Nintendo Switch controller Black Friday deal brings $11 discount
Neon Nintendo Switch Controller Box.

Nintendo Switch doesn't offer deals often, so we're happy to announce a Nintendo Switch Controller Black Friday Deal. Nintendo Switch controllers are usually $80, and this deal puts them at $69 for a savings of $11. While this isn't the most considerable discount we've ever seen, it is huge for Nintendo because it's difficult to even get your hands on actual Nintendo Switch products these days, which makes this one of the best Black Friday gaming deals still available. And with the holidays fast approaching and the best Black Friday deals starting to wrap up, you're not going to want to wait on this one since we don't know how long supplies will last.

Today's best Nintendo Switch controller Black Friday deal

Read more
Best Nintendo Switch game Black Friday deals — from $8!
Mario throws his hat.

Owners of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, and Nintendo Switch OLED will want to check out this year's Nintendo Switch game Black Friday deals for possible additions to their gaming libraries. If you don't know where to start, you should browse GameStop's Black Friday gaming deals, which include discounts on Nintendo Switch games across different genres. Some of the best Black Friday deals are already selling out though, so if you want to buy games at lower prices, you shouldn't hesitate to finalize your purchases right away.
Today's best Nintendo Switch game Black Friday deals

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game Complete Edition -- $8, was $15
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville Complete Edition -- $14, was $40
Jumanji: The Video Game -- $15, was $20
Sonic Colors: Ultimate -- $20, was $40
FIFA 22 -- $20, was $40
NBA 2K22 -- $26, was $60
Minecraft -- $28, was $30
Super Mario Odyssey -- $35, was $60
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe -- $40, was $60

Read more
These Nintendo Switch games just got a HUGE PRICE CUT at GameStop
Person holding Nintendo Switch, looking at the home screen.

Nintendo Switch games don't go on sale as often as some of the other consoles, first-party titles especially. So, when there's a promotion or discount it's always best to see what's available and gauge whether or not you've been wanting a game, or two, or three. Besides the many upcoming Nintendo Switch games soon to release, there is an incredible selection of relatively new to old titles too!

One of the best things about Switch games is that you can also grab them pre-owned without missing out on anything major -- they don't typically include download codes and most downloadable items are free. That allows you to get them cheaper than full price, alongside new copies that go on sale. You can choose either option, going with whatever matches your budget. It's the perfect time to mention that GameStop is hosting a sale on many Switch games right now, with some truly excellent prices. You can browse the sale yourself, or see our top picks below.

Read more