The Wii U’s launch continues to be a story of ups and downs: while the console launched successfully in the US two weeks ago with 400,000 units sold (outperforming the launch numbers of the Xbox 360 and PS3,) it seems that severe supply shortages have gimped the console’s sales in the UK, where most stores reportedly received less units of the system than they were promised.
The Daily Mail reported that hundreds of people lined up in London in order to try to buy the new system, but despite the strong turn-out for the system’s midnight launch, early sales numbers suggest that the new console only managed to sell a paltry 40,000 units. International Business Times blames the disappointing performance in the UK so far on a shortage of hardware — strangely, while Wii U systems seem plentiful in the US (My local Target still has plenty of the Basic package on sale for instance,) apparently Nintendo didn’t ship enough of the console to meet demand in the UK, and many retailers in the region have warned customers that they probably won’t receive enough shipments of the unit to fulfill early pre-orders until the beginning of next year. As in the US, the system’s more expensive “Deluxe” package, which includes 32 GB of storage memory and a copy of minigame collection Nintendoland, seems to be substantially more popular than the value priced “Basic” package, as nearly 6o% of the Wii U consoles sold in the region were Deluxe bundles.
The shortage of hardware limited the sales of software for the system as well, as none of the Wii U’s launch titles managed to debut on the top 10 best-selling games for the week.
It seems strange that Nintendo would ship so many more units of the Wii U to America than the UK (even when you take into account differences in population size,) and why they would want to launch the system with such a tiny initial shipment when demand for the console is so obviously high. Then again, the Wii U’s launch in the US was filled with a lot of bizarre and seemingly easily remedied mistakes, ranging from day one patches and to outright false statements, so maybe we should have expected all this.