[Updated 1/11/17 – Consider Nintendo Refurbished Systems]:
If you’re still looking for a 2DS, New 3DS XL, or Wii U system, you might want to consider ordering directly from Nintendo’s online store to get a refurbished system. They come with the same 1 year warranty and are practically brand new and cheaper to boot. I’ve ordered from them before and have had an excellent experience. Check out this story for the links.
Nintendo warned us earlier in the year that no more Wii U systems would be shipping to retailers as it had exhausted its supply of systems and no more were being produced. It took a little while for the retail channels to sell through their surplus, but it now appears to have happened at most major retailers across the United States.
I first noticed this happening a little over a week ago when my local GameStop had run out of systems and when performing a search none of the stores in the state had any and neither did the website. I thought it might just be a GameStop issue, but researching it some more I found out that Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon are all sold out on their online sites. I figured that surely there must be some available in brick and mortar locations, but no dice. The only luck I had was with Walmart, a store about 50 miles away had at least one in stock.
Then today a NeoGAF user created a new thread stating that Best Buy locations in Canada had been sent a recall by Nintendo for the Wii U systems and that all of the stores have sent them back. I know for a fact this didn’t happen in GameStop’s case – they simply sold out, but it does make one wonder if some of the other retailers sent back their stock. It definitely seems strange to do this prior to Christmas and is something I’d expect in January to prepare shelf space for the Switch in March. It could be that Nintendo requested the units back to redistribute to other retailers in need of them, but it’s impossible to know for sure.
No matter, it’s got to be frustrating for those looking to secure one for a Christmas gift. Right now the only options would be to pay well over retail price on eBay or third-party sellers on Amazon or Walmart. Or one could buy a refurbished system directly through Nintendo or a pre-owned one through GameStop. Of course, it’s best to check your local stores to see if they happen to have any systems in stock there before resorting to these other options. Who knows, you might get lucky!
Finally, the last option, and one to heavily consider, is to skip the Wii U and buy the Nintendo Switch when it comes out in March. Rumors heavily point to it being cheaper than the Wii U ($249) and it’s looking like it will be getting ports or semi-sequels to some of the games that were on the Wii U (Splatoon, Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros., Mario Maker, Xenoblade X, etc.) and you know that Nintendo will continue to support it with new software, whereas the Wii U is all but dead. If you’ve waited this long to jump on board with Nintendo, a few months more won’t kill you.