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High Nintendo Wii U pre-orders: Can we expect shortages?

Anticipation surrounding Nintendo’s Wii U has been mounting for months, and ahead of the console’s UK launch on 30 November, company president Satoru Iwata has already warned about the possibility of shortages in 2012.

Iwata highlighted that many retailers have already sold out of their pre-order Wii U allotments, citing the example of major US game retailer GameStop, which has had to create a waiting list that already has 250,000 names on it, after pre-orders filled up.

“As production only started this summer, it has now become more likely that it is our production capacity, rather than consumer demand, that will place limits on our Wii U prospects for this calendar year,”

Nintendo expects to sell 5.5 million Wii U consoles from its launch, along with 24 million Wii U games, and is banking on the next generation console to help it balance the books.

Here’s what we know about the Wii U so far.

Wii U key features

One of the main features of the Wii’s successor is the “GamePad” controller. Akin to a full tablet, it comes complete with a touchscreen, motion detection, camera and stylus. The controller can serve as the main display or supplement games played on a larger screen.

Other features include NFC technology, and the ability for users to stream videos from online services such as Hulu, Amazon and Netflix.

The range of titles available on launch includes Call of Duty: Black Ops II, FIFA Soccer 13, New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land, and Assassin’s Creed 3.

Will the Wii U succeed?

The Wii U is set to “have a negative impact on Nintendo’s profits early after the launch”, according to Iwata, as the company has decided to stick with consumer-friendly pricing as opposed to a price based on the console’s manufacturing cost.

Pricing for the Wii U is set to start at around £250 in the UK, and $300 in the US. Analyst Michael Pachter has said that Nintendo’s sales estimates for the Wii U may be a little optimistic.

“Guidance for 24m Wii U software units in FY:13 implies an attach rate of over four games which we view as highly unrealistic given pricing and release slate,”

“The launch schedule is better than we had initially expected. However, demand will probably wane once Nintendo’s core fan base has purchased the first 5-6m units, negatively impacting long-term hardware and software sales as well.”

With the Wii such a success, Nintendo’s fan base will no doubt help to clock up more than a few sales for the Wii U.

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