All the Nintendo Wii U inventory was scooped up at stores on the first day, making the new game system
with the tablet-style controller likely one of the hottest gift tickets of the holiday season.
We found more than 4,000 new Wii U units available on eBay Monday afternoon, the day after launch, selling for as high as $600.
The suggested retail cost is $299 for the basic set or $349 for the deluxe set, which includes Nintendo Land game, increased internal storage totaling 32 GB, a console stand, a GamePad stand and a GamePad charging cradle.
The initial version of the Wii, with its ground-breaking motion-sensor controllers, was also a hot ticket for months after release, leaving analysts wondering if the company keeps supply low in order to fuel anticipation and create buzz.
"We know that you can't find a Wii U in stores -- and that Nintendo also had problems keeping the Wii in stock when it first launched years ago," said consumer devices analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis.
"However, we don't know yet whether the Wii U sold out because there is high demand, or just low supply," Greengart told us. "If it's due to high demand, we also don't know whether there will be sustained demand once supply is available."
High demand may be challenged, Greengart added, once top rivals Microsoft and Sony release updated versions of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation, respectively, next year.
Asymmetry a Mystery
"Probably the most crucial question of all is whether consumers are interested in the Wii U's asymmetric game play [and] whether game vendors will create must-have titles that take advantage of it," Greengart said.
Nintendo has increased its range of third-party titles -- a weak point in the past -- with games by Disney Interactive, Sega and Warner Brothers, among many others. The Wii U also now offers the ability for players to share games while having completely different points of view and experiences through asymmetric gaming. The new system also adds an additional player capacity, to five from four.
Another question from Greengart: "If asymmetric game play is a strong selling point, does Nintendo have a sustained competitive advantage? Microsoft, Sony, Apple, and Google all have products in the living room and they all have tablet initiatives as well."
Nintendo hopes to sell more than 5 million Wiis between launch and March. Sales may spike -- supply permitting -- when Nintendo adds its delayed TVii service.
TVii integrates a program guide, remote control and social interaction on the Wii U's GamePad tablet, and it's included at no additional charge, working with your existing cable or satellite setup. It allows users to comment on live TV via the existing Miiverse community, Facebook or Twitter, and get more information about programs from a variety of sources.