"Not a single store in Georgia has any," a local GameStop employee told me over the phone as I called about looking for the GameCube controller released with Super Smash Bros. Wii U. That's explains why the cheapest one on Amazon is $89.99, and why eBay prices are going through the roof.
Wii U gamepad be damned, as soon as Nintendo announced a $19.99 peripheral that would allow classic GameCube controllers to be used on its latest console, it became the way to play the way to play Super Smash Bros. Wii U. As reader Jon, who tipped us off to the scarcity of the adapters, writes: "Honestly, who's going to play with the gamepad? Who's going to force their friends to play with wiimotes when they come over?"
Not a lot of people it seems, as while there are plenty of copies of Super Smash Bros. Wii U available for purchase, not local retailer I contacted had the adapter available for purchase. Gamestop.com is out. Walmart.com is out. Amazon.com has a few available, but from third-party sellers inflating the price due to scarcity. As I wrote this article, someone bought one of the four available for $118.
eBay sellers are having a field day as well, selling the $19 adapter for $50 to $75 or more, with prices steadily rising. Japanese importers are selling at slightly lower prices, but shipping times are rather lengthy. The $99 Smash Bros. Wii U controller bundle is seeing similar price spikes.
Some retailers retain purchaseable listings for the adapter and/or bundle with extended shipping times, suggesting further shipments are on the way. Frys will accept orders for the GameCube adapter for the normal price of $19.99 today, but units are not expected to ship until December. Walmart's listing for the bundle suggests it can be purchased today, arriving on Wednesday with expedited shipping, though no local store pickup is available until next Friday.
My local GameStop suggested I call back next week, as they might be expecting a small shipment. So there's hope — just not for the game's first big weekend.
I reached out to Nintendo for a statement on GameCube adapter availability, and will update this post should I hear back.