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Nintendo Constraining Wii U Supply?

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - By Mike Green

Within days of Nintendo announcing the Wii U release date retailers such as GameStop, Best Buy, Target, Kmart and Toys R Us all ceased taking pre-orders indicating that their initial stock allocation had been exhausted.

Reports suggest that in the US Nintendo had allocated approximately 300,000 to 400,000 Wii U consoles for initial pre-order. It also seems that manufacturing production has not yet started which would go some way to explain the seemingly low initial stock allocation to retailers. This theory has further credibility with the lack of leaked photos from the production line. These photos from a smuggled in camera are commonplace when production of a new electronic device goes into full swing (just look at the recent iPhone 5 and iPad Mini leaks). When production does start, which can't be long now, Nintendo should be in a better position to judge how many further units (if any) can be allocated to retailers so we may find further pre-orders restarting prior to the 18th November release date.

Another theory is that Nintendo is simply constraining supply on purpose to give the impression of shortages to boost demand (something Nintendo were also accused of with the original Wii). However, this is a dangerous game to play because if they under supplied the market too much customers are likely to get fed up and just go buy something else instead.

The GameStop president has been quoted at saying that "demand for the Wii U has been off the charts" with the retailer now only taking orders through their PowerUser Reward scheme. Even then GameStop cannot guarantee when the console will actually get shipped to you.

In the UK, where the original Wii was a sell out for long periods, there are no such Wii U Stock issues with all major retailers still currently taking pre-orders.

With so much conflicting information it's difficult to judge whether we will have major stock shortages of the Wii U this Christmas in the US. Only time will tell.

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