Too Late to Grab a Wii U on Black Friday? Not According to Nintendo

For all the racket about the Wii U being sold out, it really happened months ago, when stores ran through their preorder allotment. A few held stock back for the launch, and maybe you even snatched something from that handful. If so, consider yourself lucky, because the ship has definitely sailed

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For all the racket about the Wii U being sold out, it really happened months ago, when stores ran through their preorder allotment then slammed the door shut. A few retailers held stock back for the launch, last Sunday, and maybe you even snatched something from that handful, standing in line. If so, consider yourself lucky, friend, because the ship has definitely sailed.

I poked around eBay this morning and turned up over 5,000 active listings for Nintendo’s new console. Some are still trying to sell the thing for $2,000 to $3,000 (or “best offer” — the highest-priced listing shows 26 offers since Nov. 6, all of them declined).

(MORE: Nintendo Wii U Review: A Tale of Two Screens)

But on average, it looks like eBay’s prices are surprisingly not insane, with the $350, 32-GB Deluxe model going for just over $400. I’m also not seeing sellers try to make that up by charging nonsense shipping fees. The only downer buying this way, if you’re desperate, is that you’ll have to wait until at least Friday, and that’s assuming you’re willing to pay for expedited shipping and your seller’s on the ball about dispatching the system today.

Will Nintendo replenish stock in time for Black Friday? Looks like it, according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, who promised as much during a CNBC spot Monday morning.

“This is our big new innovation that we launched yesterday,” says Fils-Aime in the video, adding that the system is “already well sold through in retail.”

“[There's] not a lot of stock left until we start replenishing in a couple days’ time,” he continues, reassuring that the company will have more units to sell between now and Christmas and also that “we’ll have more available on Black Friday in retail locations.”

I’m not sure how much help a system tracker’s going to be at this point, much less how well any of these actually work. Nowinstock.net reports the Wii U popped up in a few places as recently as yesterday but currently shows nothing available.

Another tracker, zooLert, claims the system was in stock this morning at certain stores and offers links to preorder the Wii U from Walmart, but Walmart’s website doesn’t list when the system will ship — until they do, I’d give the company’s offer wide berth.

And whohas.it, the least visually crude tracker I’ve come across (but also the most likely to hang when refreshing), lists several sources as “green” — and then you realize they’re just Amazon (not “sold by Amazon,” just third-parties who’ve added substantial markup), Buy.com (also selling with huge markup) and eBay.

If braving the madness of Black Friday’s mobs is on your radar, check with local retailers first to see if they’re holding units back for the big day or expecting to receive more on Friday (Friday isn’t a holiday for shippers like FedEx, though UPS takes the day off).

MORE: Wii U Review Redux: Nintendo Adds Miiverse, Netflix, eShop and More