If you want to buy a Nintendo Wii this Christmas, you'd better get your skates on. The likelihood of finding one in a shop diminishes with every day that passes. Many retailers say they've completely sold out already.
Many parents are desperately seeking Nintendo's console to shut their kids up on Christmas day, and failure just isn't an option.
Now that the Wii drought has reached its climax, consoles are swapping hands online for upwards of £400 ($800) each. eBay is currently being flooded with Wiis (opens in new tab), as many of those lucky enough to already own one are cashing in on their good fortune.
But if you're hoping for a last minute influx of stock arriving at your local store, you're set to be disappointed. Nintendo itself says it has no chance of getting a Wii to everyone who wants one over Christmas.
Nintendo Wii sell out
"We're working very hard to make sure that consumers are satisfied this holiday, but I can't guarantee that we're going to meet demand. As a matter of fact, I can tell you on the record we won't," Nintendo US president, Reggie Fils-Aime said in October.
So, if you want to get hold of a Wii before Christmas, what are your options? Well, according to The Sun, retailers including Game (opens in new tab) and Woolworths are unlikely to have any Wii consoles in their stores before January. They say any stock they get in is snapped up on their websites almost as soon as it is listed.
That means if you're going to get one from a proper shop, it's going to take some dedication. You'd have to check every online retailer every few hours every day, as well as phoning every store in your area religiously every morning and afternoon.
Let the web help you
There are a few ways that you can make life easier for yourself. Wiipreorder.co.uk, for example, is a site which monitors all of the online retailers to find out exactly when they have Nintendo Wii stock available.
If you leave the site open on your desktop, a pop-up will alert you when new stock has been added to any of the sites. Be quick though, you can be sure there are lots of people monitoring this site so as soon as you find a site that has stock, be ready with your credit card.
Most days do seem to yield some new stock on at least one of the monitored sites. The latest available was on Amazon.co.uk this morning, where the console still only costs £179.99. So there's still hope of getting hold of a Wii without paying through the nose for one.
However, the available stock was snapped up in just a few minutes, so speed is key. And most online retailers are only offering the Wii as part of more expensive bundle deals.
If the official retail route doesn't suit you, eBay will be your only option. But make no bones about it, if you go down that route you're going to pay well over the odds. The cheapest eBay Wiis (opens in new tab) are currently selling for around £230, but some of the auctions are going as high as £320. And you can expect prices to increase even further as Christmas approaches.