Christmas shoppers desperate for a Wii

Christmas shoppers desperate for a Wii

Panic buying on Amazon and eBay as retailers sell out

As consumers gear up for the Christmas rush there have been reports of panic buying of Wii consoles.

Nintendo sold 350,000 Wii systems in the US during Thanksgiving week, along with 653,000 DS portables and a further 300,000 Wii consoles the week before.

But the consoles are reaching double the normal retail price on eBay.

Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo America, told Associated Press: "I could not find a single Wii on the shelves. Literally as I was walking into a Wal-Mart at 11am someone was walking out with the last one."

Fils-Aime said that Nintendo had reached its production limit of 1.8 million consoles a month, and denied that the company is deliberately restricting supply.

"A shortage benefits no one," he said. "We are disappointed because we did not accurately estimate demand. We need to be more bullish about the potential for the Wii."

Amazon sold out of one batch of 1,400 units in just 10 minutes of trading, the retailer reported.

Nintendo has sold over 5.5 million Wii consoles worldwide, nearly half in North America.