Nintendo's incoming Wii U has only been up for pre-order for a few days, but already it seems that some retailers are having issues keeping the console in stock. This is immediately reminiscent of the original Wii, which was a rare find for quite some time after release. Could the Wii U be headed for the same post-launch stock issues? That's hard to say for sure, but it certainly seems that way.
At the time of this writing, retailers like Best Buy, GameStop, and Sears have all sold out of the Deluxe Wii bundle, which costs $349.99 and comes packed with a 32GB hard drive. GameStop and Best Buy still have the basic version - $299.99 with a 8GB hard drive - in stock, but those will probably go quickly as well. It's also worth pointing out that Walmart is offering a "Wii U solution bundle" for $400 that allows consumers to pick which version of the Wii U they want (choosing the Deluxe edition adds $50 to the price of the bundle), one of 13 Wii U launch titles, and a Wii remote for some multiplayer action. Those bundles are still in stock, and it looks like that's the only way to get a Wii U console from Walmart (at least online).
So, it would appear that the Wii U is pretty popular with consumers, but the question now becomes: is this an artificial shortage implemented by Nintendo to increase demand, or are customers truly going crazy over the Wii U? With that question posed, other questions inevitably pop up - just how much stock will retailers have to work with? If the console really is this popular, will Nintendo be able to keep up with demand? Does this mean that the Wii U will become as popular as the original Wii?
Of course, it's far too early to answer most of those questions, but the Wii U does seem to be on the right track. Nintendo has an excellent launch line up going for it, and the Wii U houses some solid hardware, so it's very likely that some core gamers who felt a little alienated by the original Wii have returned for the Wii U. Whether Nintendo can get both the core group and casual group to go nuts over the Wii U remains to be seen, but it will be very interesting to see how this pre-order shortage plays out in the lead up to the Wii U's launch. Stay tuned.