Nintendo's Wii U sells out after launch despite some supply hiccups

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Less than a day after Nintendo’s Wii U launch in the U.S. on Sunday, the next-generation console is already sold out. Starting at $300 for a basic set with a tablet-style controller, the Wii U is the first console from any of the big three makers since the release of the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the original Wii in 2006.

nintendo wii
Nintendo Wii U

No sales figures are available yet, but the Wii U is largely sold out across the U.S., according to a Forbes report. It appears that many buyers anticipated strong demand for the console and put their new purchase on eBay—more than 2800 of them are for sale on the auction site now, most of them selling for upwards of $400.

Market researchers expect Nintendo to sell 3.5 million Wii U consoles worldwide by the end of December, as Nintendo said it expected to have Wii U supply problems during the holidays.

Despite the apparent popularity of the Wii U, the launch has not avoided glitches. Users reported online that they experienced long waiting times in order to download and install a mandatory software update (around 1GB download) when powering on the device.

Others are already struggling with storage space, as the 32GB Wii U Deluxe Set has only 25GB free after the firmware update, and the Nintendo Land game is too big to be downloaded and installed on the 8GB model.

Several key software items are missing at launch as well. Nintendo’s own TVii service is due in December, and Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus are not yet ready. Netflix is the only major streaming service so far to launch on the Wii U. Users also reported issues with Miiverse, the social network for the console, which quickly overloaded once the first users connected.

A basic $300 Wii U set includes a console with 8GB of storage, a sensor bar, cables; plus the GamePad, a wireless controller with a 6.2-inch touchscreen, dual analog control sticks, and gaming buttons. The $350 deluxe model has all of the above, but 32GB of storage, and a console and controller stand, as well as a charging cradle.

Games can use the GamePad as a secondary display for game info or as an alternative display. You need to be within 24 feet of the base station, and the controller has a camera and stylus too, like the Nintendo DS. Some 30 games are available at launch, including popular titles such as Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Batman: Arkham City.

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