Nintendo will shift more Wii Us in the first three months of release than it managed with the console's predecessor, analysts claim. But an estimated 53 million sales by the end of 2016 puts projected long-term success of the tablet-inspired console quite some way behind.
Nintendo is said to have 5.5 million Wii U units in stock ready to allow it to continue selling consoles to punters through until the end of April 2013. However, market watcher IHS ScreenDirect reckons Nintendo would do better if it had even more to hand.
When the original Wii hit shelves in 2006, Nintendo shifted 3.1m units in the run up to Christmas, a figure predicted to reach 3.5m over the same time frame with Wii U.
Source: IHS Screen Digest, November 2012
IHS believes this will lead to supply shortages, and many of those on the hunt for one of Nintendo's new consoles may have to wait until 2013.
Regardless of when gamers get their hands on the Wii U, over the four years that follow its release, Nintendo is forecast to shift 30 per cent fewer than it did with the Wii. The motion-controlled games box is fast approaching the 100 million mark and is rated as the second best-selling console in history.
"This time around, Wii U's innovation, coupled with a limited volume of high-quality Nintendo software, will not be enough to drive the ongoing sales momentum we witnessed with the Wii console, especially at a higher price point," predicted Piers Harding-Rolls, a senior analyst at Screen Digest.
The Wii U starts at £260 for an basic, 8GB model, rising to £310 for a 32GB version.
If the console does manage more than 50m sales over the coming years, it will only be ten or so million behind total figures for the NES, Ninty's best-selling games box for two decades.
You can read what our first impressions of Nintendo Wii U here on Reg Hardware. ®