Wii U: Will U be able to get one?

It’s tipped as one of the hottest Christmas presents of 2012 and gamers have been clambering to get their hands on one.

But, already issues have arisen with the new Wii U – not least that it has sold out in lots of stores in the US where it launched just a few days ago.

The Wii U has appeared on lots of tech websites’ must-have Christmas gifts. T3.com recommends users treat themselves to a Wii U for the festive season, chacha.com describes it as the “gift parents will kill for this holiday season” and musicmagpie says: “This year’s must-have Christmas present has arrived”.

But, it hasn’t arrived for everyone. Some frustrated wannabe customers are struggling to get hold of the new gizmos.

Technology.gather.com is reporting that the next-generation device has officially sold out. And Forbes, via PCWorld, says that the console has “largely sold out across the US”.

It will be disheartening news for parents who have youngsters who have put the Wii U on their Christmas lists. It perhaps doesn’t come as a surprise though as Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata had already warned, earlier this year, that stocks would be low because console production didn’t start until summer.

Nintendo has high hopes for the Wii U. Nintendo of America president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime described it as “an everyday connected device – offering a combination of games, entertainment, online connectivity and social activity that will make people want to interact with it daily”.

The game has already proved incredibly popular, with predicted sales figures of 3.5m units by the end of December, but some glitches have already emerged.

Reports say the machine needs a sizeable firmware update when it is first switched on, taking more than an hour to download from the internet. The website GamesIndustry.biz claims the download is as large as 5GB and adds that new owners who turn off their machines before the process is completely finished risk “bricking” the console.

And LA Time reporter Ben Fritz agrees. “Warning,” he writes. “Don’t unplug your Wii U during the two-hour plus software update or the console stops working.”

Other concerns noted so far include failures with HDMI output, an instance where a user claims to have stumbled upon an admin debug menu while trying to configure the console’s Miiverse social networking facility and the fact that the TVii video-on-demand channel isn’t available until December.

Despite any initial problems though, there are lots of consumers still desperate to buy a Wii U. Because of the shortages, prices on the auction website ebay are soaring.

The RRP of the Wii U in the US is $299, but consoles are currently on ebay priced at up to $1,32.99.  And Amazon also has stock advertised for up to $703.50.

And similar problems with stock shortages are expected when the console launches in the UK on November 30.

Some retail sources are claiming that only 25,00 Wii U systems will be available on day one in the UK so it looks like Santa and his elves could have to help out on the production line.

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