How many people do you think pre-ordered a Wii U even though they never have any intention of playing with a Wii U?A quick check on Ebay will reveal that the number is pretty high. As to be expected, throngs of users have put up Wii U listings on the online auction site, all at very high markups over the console's actual retail price.
Due to problems with the production of the Wii U's touchscreen controller, it's expected that Nintendo will have a fairly low number of units available on launch day.
This is further compounded by the fact that there hasn't been a brand new home console in the industry since 2006. People are clamoring for something new and fresh.
Looking back, the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii all had massive launches with gamers camping out for days to get their hands on one. And if you think $500 - $600 for a Wii U on Ebay today is crazy, just wait until the holiday season kicks into full gear. Expect to see Wii U systems selling for well over $1,000.
This is of course to be expected. Nintendo will look back on this time with fondness once the Wii U loses its luster, which is bound to happen after the Xbox 720 and PS4 launch. The real question is whether or not it can successfully keep some sense of momentum going.