According to CNN, the Wii U sold 400,000 units in its first week in the United States, despite numerous reports of shortages across the country. As with many hotly anticipated items, demand far exceeded supply and there were simply not enough for every consumer.
Nintendo will be happy with the number, although it is below the Nintendo Wii's first week sales. In 2006, the Nintendo Wii sold 600,000 units in its first eight days, according to IGN. Speaking to CNN, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said, “Wii U is essentially sold out of retail and we are doing our best to continually replenish stock."
Demand outpacing supply is nothing new for new video game consoles and while the number is lower than the Nintendo Wii's launch, it's still a great success for Nintendo's new console.
Ars Technica also notes that Wii U's first week numbers are better than the launch sales of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. In 2006, Sony's Playstation 3 sold 197,000 units in its first two weeks, while in 2005 Microsoft's Xbox 360 sold 326,000 units in its first two weeks.
Luckily, Fils-Aime does not believe that the Wii U will be as scarce as the Wii was during its launch. He told CNN, “You couldn't walk into a retailer and buy a Wii until spring of 2009. We've certainly learned many lessons from that and we are replenishing retailers more quickly this time around.”
The Wii U will launch in Europe on Friday and in Japan in December. The Wii U is Nintendo's entry into the next generation of consoles. Microsoft and Sony have yet to unveil the successors to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and with Nintendo's console already available to the public, it could give the Wii U a solid fan base before it has any competition.
Another figure yet to be released is video game sales, which could really determine how successful the Wii U launch really was for Nintendo. Forbes points out that Nintendo will be losing money on each Wii U but can make it up in game sales.