Even though it took less than a day for GameStop to sell out its preorder allotment, even though the retailer claims a waiting list of 500,000, even though retailers like Best Buy and Toys 'R Us are said to be cancelling orders because they oversold their day-one stock, the console is commanding somewhere between a $US50 and $US150 premium in the grey market on day one, depending on the system.
That's still better than the price point the last time we looked at this — on October 4, the highest bid on a Wii U preorder was $US465. This morning, it was $US517.99, though the highest bids for auctions ending this afternoon were coming in between $US425 and $US450 for the deluxe model. (One standard model auction, ending at 1.30pm EST, was holding at $US306.05, a whole $US7.05 more than RRP.)
Most of the deluxe consoles listed seem to be asking for $US700, which, coincidentally, was the highest the original Wii went for on eBay during the 2006 holidays. (Although, here's some chutzpah for you: $US2999 for an 8GB basic unit.) Maybe some folks are trying to recapture the magic from six years ago. Nothing yet points to the absolute mayhem of 2006, when the Wii was much more of a cultural phenomenon and the West — the world, hell — was buying things in better economic times.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told us that he thinks supply will be better for the Wii U than it was for the Wii, not because demand will be softer but because Nintendo is doing more with their new console. "Certainly for the first two and a half years we were chasing demand [with the Wii], and while it's too early to say we won't have the same challenge, we are going to be putting more hardware into the Americas," he said.
This is, however, only the first day. Anecdotal reports coming over Twitter suggest that some people are even, crazy enough, walking into a store and just buying the console. It's possible that once everything really dries up — check back a couple weeks after Black Friday in the US — those $US700 price tags might be getting some action.
Wii U [eBay]