Before the Wii U launched, US outlet GameStop proudly stated that half a million people were on its waiting list for the shiny new console.

However, speaking to investors last week, GameStop admitted that only 320,000 consoles were actually sold by the chain - which means 180,000 "orders" essentially vanished into thin air, right?

Not quite.

Here's what company spokesperson Matt Hodges had to say when Kotaku grilled him about the discrepancy:

Our initial allocation from Nintendo was not 500,000 units. We never disclosed that number; we only stated that we had reserved thru those units in the first 48 hours of them being offered.

So basically, 500,000 people notified GameStop of their interest in owning a Wii U system, but not all of them actually went through with the transaction - in fact, it would seem that GameStop didn't even get that many consoles. Hodges again:

One thing to consider about the people who signed up for our waiting list is that they had no financial commitment to do so. So it is possible that they purchased their Wii U from another retailer.

Or they could have decided in the end that the machine wasn't for them - pretty standard stuff when you're dealing with pre-orders which aren't underpinned by a financial commitment, such as a deposit.