Nintendo launched its latest, much-anticipated video game console, the Wii U, over the weekend, and by all accounts the system was a popular seller, much like in the U.S. and Europe, where it went on sale in mid-November. This is Nintendo’s first home console since it launched the original Wii in 2006, and the game company aims to provide a new experience with its tablet-like GamePad, complete with touch screen, in order to maintain relevancy in a market increasingly moving towards smartphones.
The Wii U comes in two versions; the basic set has 8 GB of internal memory and sells in Japan for 26,250 yen (approx. $318), while the premium edition has 32 GB of memory, and includes a HDMI cable and game for 31,500 yen ($381). Both packages include a GamePad controller, which features a 6-inch touch screen. The morning of December 8th saw almost 80 people lined up to buy one in Osaka, with one 60 year old commenting they were hoping to get one as a Christmas present for their grandchild. One of the Bic Camera electronics stores in Tokyo had a line-up of over 300 people when it opened at 8:00 AM.
Nintendo’s U.S. launch of the Wii U on November 16th saw just over 425,000 units sold in its first week, and that number probably would’ve been higher if the system hadn’t completely sold out. A Nintendo spokesman has commented that Wii U sales are off to a great start, and combined with the high demand in Japan, the company hopes to sell 5.5 million consoles worldwide by the end of March 2013. Etsuko Tamura, an analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities Co., commented that demand for the Wii U is exceeding supply, so the main obstacle at this point is how fast Nintendo can manufacture consoles.[via After Dawn]