Gamasutra is reporting that they have sources indicating that the Wii U had a high amount of units returned to stores during January in the US.
Why is this important news? Because it would indicate that the Wii U didn’t sell a measly 56k units during January. Gamasutra’s sources estimate that the amount of console returns exceeded 40k units, possibly more.
This would mean that the Wii U sold over 100k units during the month of January. That’s not very good but its a far cry from the 50k number we were seeing before.
Why were so many systems returned to stores? The collapse of the second-hand market Gamasutra claims. Its a well known fact that scalpers were preparing for the Wii U to sell out like the Wii did at launch in 2006. It sorta did, but by mid-December the new Nintendo console was readily available everywhere.
It wouldn’t surprise me if this large amount of returns was 90% due to scalpers. Just at the University I attend (which is a major one in South Texas) I saw dozens of flyers around campus for unopened Wii U systems on sale for $450+. It upset me and I’m happy to hear these scalpers seem to have failed at what they were trying to accomplish.