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Strong start for Wii U in US

Nov 27 2012 15:53
New York — Nintendo has sold more than 400 000 of its new video game console, the Wii U, in its first week on sale in the US, the company said Monday.

The Wii U launched on Nov. 18 in the US at a starting price of $300. Nintendo said the sales figure, based on internal estimates, is through Saturday, or seven days later.

The Wii U is the first major game console to launch in six years. It comes with a new touch-screen controller that promises to change how people play games by offering different people in the same room a different experience, depending on the controller used.

Six years ago, Nintendo Co. sold 475 000 of the original Wii in that console's first seven days in stores, according to data from the NPD Group. The original Wii remains available, and Nintendo said it sold more than 300 000 of them last week, along with roughly 250 000 handheld Nintendo 3DS units and about 275 000 of the Nintendo DS.

At this early stage, demand isn't the only factor dictating how many consoles are sold. Supply is, too. This means it's likely that more people wanted to buy the Wii U in the first week than those who were able to. The original Wii was in short supply more than a year after it went on sale.

As of Monday afternoon, the website of Best Buy was sold out of the Wii U. Video game retailer GameStop Corp. said there was at least a three day wait for a deluxe Wii U, which costs $350, has more memory and comes with a game called "Nintendo Land." GameStop still had the basic, $300 version available.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter estimates that Nintendo will ship 1 million to 1.5 million Wii Us in the US through the end of January.


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