Nintendo enjoyed a happy Black Friday and will probably clean up beautifully today, Cyber Monday.
The Wii U, the company’s newest videogame console, was released last week and sales are staying strong. Although complete figures for the weekend won’t be available for some time, the known sales figures rival the high volume week in 2006 when the first Wii was introduced.
Nintendo of America estimates over 400,000 Wii U’s were sold in the United States from the product’s introduction to the market on November 18th and Saturday, November 24th. That number will probably rise as more complete data from the nation’s retailers streams in from the weekend. The Wii sold over 475,000 units in its first week, proving the videogame elder could still wallop Sony and Microsoft.
“We are essentially sold out at retail,” Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, told the New York Times, “As soon as we replenish product to retailers, it sells out immediately.”
Sales are being limited by how fast Nintendo can get Wii U’s into retail stores. This is a good problem to have.
Videogame insiders are mixed on what the Wii U means for Nintendo. The founder of Atari, lamented that the Wii U “feels like the end of an era.”,
Bushnell, who also created Pong, claimed, "I actually am baffled by it. I don’t think it’s going to be a big success…These things will continue to sputter along, but I really don’t think they’ll be of major import ever again.”
However, Manfred Linzer, developer of the much more recent game Nano Assault, had glowing things to say about the inner workings of the Wii U: “They put a lot of thought on how CPU, GPU, caches and memory controllers work together to amplify your code speed…For instance, with only some tiny changes we were able to optimize certain heavy load parts of the rendering pipeline to six times the original speed, and that was even without using any of the extra cores.”
Finding a Wii U right now will take work. Fils-Aime recommends checking newspaper circulars and making phone calls.
"Retailers that will be advertising over the next number of weeks with their circulars will have significant inventory," he told USA Today, "So that will be the best way to understand what particular retailer will be well-stocked in the particular week. But beyond that it's really following up with phone calls and visiting retailers as frequently as possible to try and find a Wii U on shelf."