From the day it launched up until the end of the year, GameStop managed to sell 320,000 Wii U consoles around the world. A number that is pretty impressive by itself, but loses some steam when you consider they had a 500,000-strong wait list.
There are several reasons for this disparity. First of all, that waiting list was not for pre-orders, but rather for the people who missed out on the first batch of consoles and were instead just having their names added at no charge. In other words, the folks who put their money down and were guaranteed the system on launch day aren’t in this equation, and they most likely were a rather large chunk of those 320,000 sales.
Of course, the fact that the people on the waiting list didn’t have to put any money down also meant that they really had no obligation to wait for a call from GameStop– they could continue to shop around for a Wii U and buy from other retailers without having to worry about money put down elsewhere. One can’t help but imagine this would be especially true for those seeking the Deluxe edition black Wii U with more memory and Nintendo Land included, who might have been able to get the standard console from GameStop but decided to hold out for the better bundle.
And then there is the fact that GameStop probably never even had 500,000 units over the holidays. The retailer sold out of its initial shipment and has stated that only now is its inventory starting to stabilize.
All things to consider, it seems like GameStop’s decision to brag about its 500,000 person wait list for Wii U was a little overblown and completely impractical. However, the fact that GameStop sold 320,000 systems is still impressive in its own right.