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Nintendo Wii U sells out in US ahead of 30 November UK launch

The Wii U has officially launched in the US ahead of its release in the UK on 30 November.

The console, considered to be the first major non-handheld games platform release since 2006, became available at midnight EST on 19 November in the US and has already sold out, according to Forbes.

The device costs £299 and features a 6in touchscreen that functions as both a remote control and a full HD display. It allows five players to compete against each other and the tablet-like touchscreen can be used as a second screen for auxiliary game features - like dungeon maps in an RPG, for instance - while its hooked up to the TV. The touchscreen can also act as the main gaming screen when the TV is otherwise in use.

The Wii U also features interesting new media capabilities, headlined by the TVii feature, which allows users to watch TV shows or films via online services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. However, the availability of these features on UK-issue consoles has been delayed until at least late-December, with the video streaming service missing the weekend's US launch.

"Wii U redefines the structure of home entertainment by fundamentally changing how the TV, the game console and the Internet function and interact together," said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.

Despite selling out within hours of its launch, customers have complained about the problematic set up of Nintendo's Wii U. Some users have reported that a combination of large software updates and slow network performance has meant that many have had to wait hours before they can even use the device.

AllThingsD confirmed that key features like TVii and Miiverse - Nintendo's new social gaming platform - are not currently available.

Nintendo is expected to sell 3.5 million Wii U consoles, compared to the 3.1 million Wii consoles that were bought over a similar sales period at the end of 2006.

Popular titles set to release alongside the new Nintendo platform include new iterations of legendary games like Super Mario Bros and Tekken, as well the likes of Darksiders II and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online.

In other words, Nintendo's latest console is finally here for some of us, albeit in a slightly imperfect form for the time being. True gaming geeks will want no doubt want to check out our in-depth look at the Wii U's hardware while they await the platform's release in the UK later in November.