Sunday, September 16, 2012

At GameStop, Wii U Deluxe sold out in less than 2 days. The PS3, in less than an hour...both models.

Pre-order sales are no guarantee of success.

GameStop logo
The system is selling well, but it's always a good idea to put things in perspective.

American video game retailer GameStop is apparently, nationwide, sold out of it's pre-order stock of Wii U Deluxe Sets and "basic bundles are dwindling" as well. This information comes from gaming site Kotaku. There had been rumors that the chain was expected to hit its cap soon and it appears it is now official.

While the media are talking about how incredible it is for pre-orders to be sold out roughly one day after they started, the fact is pre-order sales aren't a good indicator of how successful a console will be. GameStop hit their PS3 pre-order cap the same day they started. In fact, the PS3 was sold out in minutes...both models. And they were priced at $499.99 and $599.99. In case you don't remember, that system was a complete flop for the first 2 years of its life, and retailers were stocked up with more PS3s than they knew what to do with.

Another good example is that of Nintendo's own 3DS. Believe it or not, pre-orders for the handheld were two times higher than that of the Wii. And yet, shortly after launch, there were tons of them lying around on store shelves. The situation was so bad, the Big N had to drop prices by $80 and began selling units at a loss. The system launched on March 27, 2011, and it wasn't declared profitable until July 25th, 2012. That is mind-boggling.

For additional perspective, I tried to find the figures for Xbox 360 pre-orders but was unable to find any solid info.

Before closing, it's worth noting that GameStop reportedly had only 13 to 16 pre-order slots for Sony's console at each store, and many people who bought the system seemed to be more interested in reselling it for profit than actually playing games on it. Judging from the bloated Wii U prices we're already seeing on eBay, it is clear that some "entrepreneurs" are picking up the system purely to try and cash in on Nintendo's new console as well. That is definitely something to consider.

Also, we have not yet heard what sort of allotment Nintendo has given each retailer. If each store has just a handful of pre-order slots as was the case with the PS3, the word that the Wii U is selling out doesn't really tell us much about public interest in the console.


Don't get me wrong. Nintendo is by far my favorite company in the business, and the news that their new console is selling rapidly is encouraging. And yet, the fact remains: pre-order sales are no guarantee of success. There are a ton of factors that should be considered, and it is always a good idea to wait to see the full picture before celebrating.


GameStop has, nationwide, sold out its pre-order stock - Kotaku

PlayStation 3 pre-orders come and go in minutes - ArsTechnica

Nintendo: 3DS Pre-Orders Now 2X Level of Wii - Industry Gamers

Nintendo 3DS Remains in Stock, Demand Overestimated? - Industry Gamers

Nintendo: 3DS profitability "improving" despite overall losses - Eurogamer

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