Video Game News

Where to Get (and Where Not to Get) a Wii U

So like I’m sure a lot of you did, I got an email from Nintendo today announcing that they’ll have a midnight unveiling of the Wii U on Saturday, November 17.

wii u launch

So, I decided to take a walk past the Nintendo Store in New York City. The outside of the store is eerily quiet, sort of like the calm before the storm (and New Yorkers know a thing or two about storms these days).

nintendo store new york city

In front of the store there were a ton of policemen. At first, I wondered if this was because people were actually lining up for the Wii U unveiling already. But I soon realized they were there because One Direction had just left the Today Show stage at Rockefeller Center about two hour earlier.

Still, I did see three guys set up in front of the store, one of whom I assume is Isaiah Triforce-Johnson, who’s become a bit of a minor celebrity in himself by being the first to buy a Wii, a 3DS, and now is going for being the first to get a Wii U. Triforce made a little news lately when all kinds of games press deliberated on whether he’d attempt to ride out Hurricane Sandy (spoiler alert: he didn’t). But good for him, he seems to be back now.

lining up at the Nintendo store

I walked inside the store, which was also eerily empty, but I noticed that they were already setting up for Saturday. There are actual Wii U units (along with GamePad controllers) set up.

wii u set up in nintendo store

The systems were mostly not playable, mainly displaying video demos of launch title games. The exception was a demo version of Rayman Legends (which ironically is no longer a launch title). I was immediately struck by how clear the HDMI video quality was. This is not your old Wii.

The coolest thing was getting a feel for the GamePad controller. It’s going to take a little getting used to in terms of something to use for everyday play, as it’s not small; it’s about the size of a small tissue box. You hold it in two hands, and control the left joystick and arrow keys with one hand and the right joystick and the buttons with the other hand. The picture quality on the GamePad was phenomenal, and the latency seemed almost non-existent. I get the sense that it’ll take a little time before game developers figure out how to develop for it (it was doing stuff during gameplay of Rayman, but in all honesty I didn’t pay much attention to it).

It looks like motion games will be alive and well on the Wii U. As I’ve written in past posts, the launch titles will include Your Shape 2013 and Just Dance 4. Wii Fit U’s launch date is a little later (sometime before March 2013), presumably a decision by the marketing department to keep interest in the Wii U high after the initial flurry of activity.

And now the burning question: how do YOU get your hands on a Wii U? Unless you’re feeling like coming to the City and standing on line, at this point my best advice is to just keep checking online to see when the one you want comes back in stock. Here are direct links to the product pages for each version of the Wii U:

Best Buy: Wii U Basic – WhiteWii U Deluxe – Blackicon

GameStop: Wii U Basic – Whiteicon – Wii U Deluxe – Black

K-Mart: Wii U Deluxe – Black

Walmart: Wii U Basic – WhiteWii U Deluxe – Black

Sears: Wii U Deluxe – Black

As I’ve mentioned in several previous posts, all pre-orders of the Wii U have sold out and don’t look like they’re coming back before launch day. But I have a prediction…I have a feeling that a LOT of the units that were sold were bought by people who don’t intend to use them, but who think they’re going to get rich by reselling theirs. And furthermore, I dont think Nintendo is about to repeat the same mistakes they made in the initial launch of the Wii where stores went for months without units.
Right now, you can supposedly find the Wii U “in stock” on eBay and on Amazon. There are a couple reasons you do NOT want to buy from either, at least right now. The first reason is that these are third-party sellers and not authorized retailers, so chances are they’re waiting on line to get their Wii U’s right along with everyone else.
So my suggestion is to wait it out. Watch the prices on eBay and Amazon–they’re going to start out ridiculously high (and some suckers will bite), but I predict that they’ll drop precipitously as demand starts to lag behind supply, my guess is by Christmas you’ll see units back in stock and by January next year you’ll see store shelves stocked full of them. Just a hunch.

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