Wii U sells 400K in launch week, 'essentially sold out'

As expected, Nintendo has "essentially sold out" of Wii U's initial launch supply. The company has sold 400K units of its new-generation tablet-integrated console.

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As expected, Nintendo has "essentially sold out" of Wii U's initial launch supply. The company has sold 400K units of its new-generation tablet-integrated console.

"Wii U is essentially sold out of retail and we are doing our best to continually replenish stock," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told CNET. "Retailers are also doing their best to get the product to store shelves. But as soon as product hits retail, they're selling out immediately."

With 400K units sold, the launch has bested that of Xbox 360, which debuted with 326K units sold in its first two weeks of sales. However, it comes short of the tremendous demand of the original Wii. Nintendo's previous generation console managed to sell 600K units in its first week, and remained perpetually sold out for years.

While Nintendo will likely love a repeat performance, Fils-Aime is skeptical. "Wii was a unique phenomenon," Fils-Aime said. "We've certainly learned many lessons from that and we are replenishing retailers more quickly this time around."

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  • reply
    November 26, 2012 1:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Wii U sells 400K in launch week, 'essentially sold out'.

    As expected, Nintendo has "essentially sold out" of Wii U's initial launch supply. The company has sold 400K units of its new-generation tablet-integrated console.

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      November 26, 2012 1:07 PM

      "essential sold out", eh? So that's why over the weekend I saw systems on shelf at Best Buy, Target and Wal Mart? Basically I would have to try to NOT find one.

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        November 26, 2012 1:12 PM

        I find that to hard to believe. If you actually saw a unit on the shelf, it probably wasnt there long. Its sold very well considering theres almost no advertising at all for it. You cant find them at any store here.

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          November 26, 2012 1:30 PM

          I walked into a Target and bought mine off the shelf. Not so hard to believe. Also saw them at Gamestop and Best Buy.

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            November 26, 2012 1:49 PM

            I think there was poor distribution in relation to demand, some areas apparently have a few in seemingly every store while other areas are sold out everywhere.

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              November 26, 2012 2:39 PM

              Friday morning they had a shelf full at my Wal-Mart. I was back early afternoon Saturday and there was still one left. I would have figured they would have sold out early Friday, still selling well regardless.

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        November 26, 2012 1:15 PM

        You must have amazing timing.

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        November 26, 2012 1:15 PM

        They sent out new shipments for Black Friday so I am sure their initial shipments sold out.

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        November 26, 2012 1:15 PM

        Oh, look! More uninformed Nintendo hate! While Nintendo will likely love a repeat performance, Fils-Aime is skeptical. "Wii was a unique phenomenon," Fils-Aime said. "We've certainly learned many lessons from that and we are replenishing retailers more quickly this time around."

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          November 26, 2012 1:16 PM

          How is that Nintendo hate? Does Reggie hate Nintendo?

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            November 26, 2012 1:18 PM

            I think he was informing banre1231 who was spouting out "uninformed Nintendo hate". Not that I agree exactly, he could be in the middle of Wyoming.

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              November 26, 2012 1:22 PM

              Yeah, I wasn't labeling the article, or Reggie, or you, Mr. Yoon, as "Nintendo hate." Just pointing out that banre1231 obviously hadn't read through to the end of the article (five bucks says he didn't get past the first line) before he made his comment. My quote pointed out why he likely saw Wii Us on shelves this past weekend. I saw a few at my local GameStop.

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        November 26, 2012 1:21 PM

        where do you live? I couldn't find one at all

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          November 26, 2012 1:32 PM

          I doubt you are going to get an answer, this dude posts 3 times a year.

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            November 26, 2012 1:49 PM

            I was hoping for a pointer. I don't want to drive out to the sticks to get one

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              November 26, 2012 2:05 PM

              Well I do live in the sticks (You know that state that the weatherman stands in front of and never moves out of the way of?). Sometime within the first week of launch I saw several of the 8GB units (at least 3) in the Walmart here. I didn't check on stock when I went to get a toothbrush yesterday though so they could be out now.

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                November 28, 2012 8:54 AM

                New Mexico is that state.

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          November 27, 2012 4:29 AM

          I live in RI and I have seen some in stock since release at Walmart and Target. I'm not sure how accurate the online store availability is for Walmart but if you put in zip code 02865 you'll see them in stock in most places around me.

          I would get one but I don't have the time to put into it right now. Looks pretty neat though.

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        November 26, 2012 2:23 PM

        I think they are saying "essentially sold out" as a replacement for "was a success". Sold out is not a success when it comes to delivering product, unless you managed to meet every single customer's needs without leaving anyone out to dry.

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          November 26, 2012 6:26 PM

          It is really sad how everyone now thinks sell out means success. It is probably Apple's fault but really I also think it doesn't matter what Nintendo does now because lots of people will just keep calling them failures.

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            November 26, 2012 6:41 PM

            Yeah people bitch and moan if it is sold out that "Nintendo is creating an artificial shortage", but when there are still some on shelves in certain areas "The Wii U is a huge failure".

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            November 26, 2012 7:05 PM

            I'd agree if we're talking 'make 5 units, sell out and declare success' kind of thing like Apple, but seriously, read the article and maybe do some research.

            If Nintendo can't call it a success when largely selling out of units, while also selling more units in a week than the Xbox 360 and PS3 have listed as their sales numbers for two weeks, then when are they allowed to call their sales a success?

            If you're going to call 'outselling the competition' a failure (regardless of if you're looking at the Wii or the Wii U here), then I guess Nintendo is pretty guilty as charged there. We'll just have to wait and see if the PS4 and Xbox 720/whatever manage to beat Nintendo in sales this time around, but given Nintendo's current strength in sales, they've got their work cut out for them.

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              November 26, 2012 10:44 PM

              I'm fairly sure Apple sells millions of their products in days. Compare that to Nintendo providing 400k units. It's obviously not a fair comparison because they're not the same product, but saying Apple "makes 5 units" is kind of silly.

              Why would you manufacture 400k units, when your previous hardware sold 600k at launch and couldn't even come close to demand? If the tablet controller is that hard to manufacture then I guess that's a problem, but providing that little product I would consider a failure. I was considering buying a WiiU at launch, but it was such a pain in the butt to find one, I just decided to spend my money elsewhere for now.

              Comparing hardware sales of a brand new console to consoles that are more than 5 or 6 years old is also fairly silly. Hell, just comparing console sales is fairly silly, as the the big three have fairly different strategies on where they make their money anyway.

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                November 27, 2012 7:16 AM

                Yes, these days Apple does actually produce millions and sell them. That wasn't always the case however. With their earlier products they released them after only produced a small number, so they could then announce to the media that they were selling out. Thus people wondered why they were so 'popular' and bought them. It was a clever marketing trick that gave them a nice little hand when demand otherwise would have been fairly low, especially when they were then able to fulfill the extra orders rather quickly and easily. Nowdays Apple uses the 'millions of people already bought one' marketing strategy more, as the demand is already there. They still control supply in other ways however. For example, in Australia just 50 stores, presumably outside of apple stores, are actually allowed to carry iPads except during particular times like christmas.

                I agree that only having 400K for the first week when the Wii sold over 600K in its first two is silly, but they also can't exactly tell how many they'll sell either. 400K+ for a console in a single region isn't really 'that little product' either. Yes, not as much as needed, but normally it would be a perfectly adequate amount. Nintendo may have very well expected fewer sales for various reasons. There might also be another 300K machines mid-way through the distribution chain for all we know, which could be why some areas seem to have plenty, while others are out. Or it could just be a miscalculation on where demand would be strongest. But the Wii U still has time to match and beat the Wii's sales, if the units have actually been in transit.

                If you can't compare console sales to other consoles though, then what do you compare console sales to? Yes, when comparing the sales to those from 5+ years ago you start to lose how well you can compare them, but it's the only thing you really have to compare them. Different strategies on where they make their money doesn't really matter though. If you've sold twice as many consoles as the competition on release and were losing money on each one to keep the price a bit lower, planning on recooping it on game/peripherals/online subs/etc sales, then you've still got twice the number of customers to then buy them.

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        November 27, 2012 12:45 PM

        I'm in Mobile, AL. And was just offering some anecdotal evidence of it not being as great as said here. Successful, yeah, I'll give you that. But I would expect sales to drop like rock after the first of the year, moreso than what is normally seen with consoles post Christmas.

        And, FWIW, I was back in the Wal mart mentioned just last night (11/26) and still saw two on shelf.

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      November 26, 2012 4:38 PM

      Gamestop.com claims that they have the basic units in stock right now: http://www.gamestop.com/wii-u/consoles/nintendo-wii-u-8gb-basic-set/104795

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        November 27, 2012 12:57 AM

        And theyve been in stock for like 3 days straight.

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        November 27, 2012 6:06 AM

        The deluxe appears to be in stock now