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Wii U Software Discounts Hit Ahead of Black Friday, Analysts Weigh In

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Consoles reportedly sold out, over 2500 on eBay

Now that Wii U has had a day or so to launch and fly off store shelves, industry analysts are starting to look at the early signs of success, or otherwise, for the system. It's all very, very early days, of course, but nevertheless a couple of interesting trends have emerged.

For starters, and to the surprise of no-one, the initial batch of Wii U systems has reportedly sold out across North America. According to, over 2500 Wii U consoles have already been put up for sale on eBay, with prices typically in the $400-500 range. That said, it's suggested that the demand isn't as significant as it was for Wii, with Nintendo's last system selling for as much as $1000 on eBay even into 2007, as stock remained hard to find.

Meanwhile, it's being reported that some retailers are already putting together discounts and offers on Wii U software. Examples of this are the Toys R Us promotion of buy one game, get the next at 40 percent off, while Target's offer is to buy two titles and get the third at 50 percent off. Scott Steinberg of TechSavvy Global believes this is stores seeking to seize customers for all their Wii U needs, though questions whether such early discounts are common with new home consoles.

It's going to be a tough retail season, and given the increasing Black-Friday driven shopping culture, this is a tactic designed to ensure that the store in question is the primary shopping source for the Wii U. If they get you in the door to buy Wii U software at a discount, chances are you're going to do all your Wii U shopping at that specific retailer.

This is certainly a first in history, and it points to the state of the retail and set-top console market. In the past you would never see retailers discounting premium launch software for a console system. In most cases it's an opportunity to mark prices up. But I struggle to remember the last time a console launch had so much software available.

Steinberg seems to be damning with faint praise, somewhat, arguing that discounts on launch games haven't happened in this manner before, therefore reflecting wider issues for the home console industry at retail; he does, also, refer to Wii U having a substantial launch day library. Michael Pachter, senior analyst with Wedbush Securities, meanwhile, argues that this trend doesn't show weakness in Wii U, but simply the reaction of retailers trying to make the most of limited stock during the biggest shopping season of the year.

Keep in mind that they don't have many Wii U hardware units, and that the total shipped to the US is probably well under 1 million for the launch, so their risk is that they sell 100,000 or so titles at no profit. It's a loss leader to drive traffic. I don't think it's a signal about the health of console sales at all.

So there we have some early reaction to the Wii U retail scene in North America. Systems are apparently sold out, plenty are appearing on eBay — though maybe without the same demand as Wii — and struggling retailers are reducing software to draw in customers. Some interesting thoughts, though we won't really know how well Wii U is performing for a good while yet.


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User Comments (25)



Nin-freak said:

Wii was priced high due to lack of console availability. Nintendo has said they don't want that to be a problem with Wii U, so the ebay price makes no sense to compare.



JavierYHL said:

the wii u needs to sell fast and quick for a large install base to lured those third parties support in...I and my friend been playing our wii u for a few days and i m sad to said its less than half the fun of the previous wii...but with nintendo large fanbase hopefully the wii u can last till ps4 and xbox 720 comes and I will have save enough money for wii 3



luminalace said:

The Wii had an amazing buzz around the system which the Wii U lacks but already Gamestop have said that while console pre-orders are around the same as Wii, games pre-orders are significantly higher. This means that early Wii U buyers are buying more games than they did with Wii which points to the awesome launch day lineup.

I am really hoping that 3rd parties have more success on Wii U than they did with Wii. Us Nintendo fans have a responsibility to not just buy Nintendo's titles but good quality 3rd party games too. I know far too many hardcore Nintendo fans who just buy 1st party stuff.



HawkeyeWii said:


What are you smoking!!? For one it is a blast! And for two what makes you think that another home console from Nintendo will come so soon?



SilverLightning said:

has anyone else noticed there doing black friday deals in england we dont even celebrate black friday



MegaAdam said:

Those discounts at TRU and Target are tiny discounts. They're not something to be worried about. Compare them to the rest of the BF discounts.



player310 said:

I was on the Gamestop wait list, and I got a little phone call earlier today... Gonna pick mine up later today... can't wait.



hendie001 said:

The wallmart here still has lots. I was the only person there on sunday when the store opened.



PinkSpider said:

Can't stand these people that buy up the consoles just to sell them at an extortionate price to people who are unable to get hold of one.



Chunky_Droid said:

@Yanchamaru: Preorders were reportedly sold out all across the states, so the retailers near where you live have obviously fibbed about their sales figures.



Auracle said:

I plan to take advantage of the Toys 'R' Us deal. It sounds like Wii U is off to a pretty good start.



rjejr said:

Wait, did Pachter say something that wasn't bashing the Wii U?

I don't see in store game sales saying anything about system sales. I'll worry when Nintendo drops the MSRP on a 1st party game less than 4 years old.



grimbldoo said:

@SilverLightning #7
I didn't know we celebrated Black Friday.
I guess it kinda has turned into a few-hour-long holiday in America, but it started out as the day that retailers sold the most.



MrWu said:

To be fair, lots of doomsayers have given themselves an 'out' by saying it will do fine this holiday and it's all about the long haul.

So no matter how well it performs this holiday, they will be unimpressed. Besides, there's also the bonus for them to 'doom say' the holiday sales if its softer than expected.



Malkeor said:

You know the 2nd guy defiantly has a point...I mean it was a limited shipment and it's the holiday season so why should any of us be surprised ?



Zombie_Barioth said:

I can see why someone would see this as an act of desperation, but to me its just another way of capitalizing on all the hype of the launch of a console.

Not only are they hoping you do the rest of your shopping at their store but they're hoping to encourage people to either spend more than they initially planned on or put their savings towards more goodies. Either way the store gets you to buy more than you probably would have otherwise.



Peppy_Hare said:

Seems to be sold out here in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Went to Best Buy, Superstore and phoned a couple Wal Marts and I couldn't track one down.



AmishThunder said:

The problem with that information from Gamestop is that:
1) They cut preorders off on the Wii U very early on (I believe it was within the first 48 hours).
2)Generally speaking the amount of people preordering games is up hundreds of percent over 6 years ago. Which also makes that information not entirely accurate either.

Unfortunately, there won't be accurate information until we see actual launch sales figures. Which I do believe are going to be very good and will reflect what you stated in your post.

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