As of this writing there are at least 630 Wii Us listed on eBay for minimum bids or buy-it-now prices of $520 or more. Not a one of them has any takers. Even though it took less than a day for GameStop to sell out its preorder allotment, even though the retailer claims a waiting list of 500,000, even though retailers like Best Buy and Toys 'R Us are said to be canceling orders because they oversold their day-one stock, the console is commanding between a $50 and $175 premium in the gray market on day one, depending on the system.
That's still better than the price point the last time we looked at this—on Oct. 4, the highest bid on a Wii U preorder was $465. This morning, it was $517.99, though the highest bids for auctions ending this afternoon were coming in between $425 and $450 for the deluxe model. (One standard model auction, ending at 1:30 p.m. EST, was holding at $306.05, a whole $7.05 more than MSRP.)
Most of the deluxe consoles listed seem to be asking for $700 which, coincidentally, was the highest the original Wii went for on eBay during the 2006 holidays. (Though, here's some chutzpah for you: $2,999 for an 8 GB basic unit.) Maybe some folks are trying to recapture the magic from six years ago. Nothing yet points to the absolute mayhem of 2006, when the Wii was much more of a cultural phenomenon and the West—the world, hell—was buying things in better economic times.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told us that he thinks supply will be better for the Wii U than it was for the Wii, not because demand will be softer but because Nintendo is doing more with their new console. "Certainly for the first two and a half years we were chasing demand [with the Wii], and while it's too early to say we won't have the same challenge, we are going to be putting more hardware into the Americas," he said.
This is, however, only the first day. Anecdotal reports coming over Twitter suggest that some people are even, crazy enough, walking into a store and just buying the console. It's possible that once everything really dries up—check back a couple weeks after Black Friday—those $700 price tags might be getting some action.
Wii U [eBay]