Here we go again: Expect Wii U shortages to last months -- analyst

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter says Nintendo's console could be sold out for the first six months it's available.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
The line outside of Nintendo's flagship store in New York ahead of the launch of the Wii U console.
The line outside of Nintendo's flagship store in New York ahead of the launch of the Wii U console. Mark Licea/CNET

Will the Wii U be hard to come by in its first several months of availability? At least one analyst thinks so.

Speaking to Bloomberg in an interview published today, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said that he expects the Wii U to be sold out during its first six months on store shelves. After that, he believes Nintendo will sell about 10 million units a year for the first couple of years.

If that sounds familiar, it's because a similar scenario played out with Nintendo's Wii. After that console launched in 2006, it continued to sell out with each new shipment. Customers had to wait in line at retailers that sold the device on days when they thought there were shipments. Web sites even popped up telling customers where Wii units were available.

The Wii U launches on Sunday, and fans have already been lining up to get their hands on the device as soon as it's launched. CNET spoke with some of the folks waiting in line at Nintendo's flagship store in New York's Rockefeller Center. The first person in line, Nintendo fan Isaiah Triforce Johnson, has been waiting for nearly a month.

Such demand for the Wii U is good news for Nintendo's ailing hardware division, which has watched sales plummet over the last couple of years. By the end of this year, Nintendo is expected to sell 3.5 million Wii U units worldwide, according to IHS Screen Digest. With many more customers expected to want to get the device, Nintendo will be under the gun to get more units to store shelves.

Nintendo is selling two bundles with the Wii U: a basic set for $300 and a deluxe set for $350. Both include a console and Wii U GamePad, but the deluxe set also comes with a copy of game Nintendo Land and more storage, among other additions.

CNET has contacted Nintendo for comment on the possible Wii U shortage. We will update this story when we have more information.

Watch this: Wii U unboxing