Nintendo's Wii console has already gone on sale on 2 December in Japan, as reports are filtering through of long queues outside stores stocking the device.

Nintendo has already sold 600,000 Wiis in the US since its launch there on 19 November, and demand in Japan is expected to be just as high. The company, in the pre-release hype, said that “retail pandemonium and mayhem is expected” at the Japanese launch.

Lines of eager games reportedly starting forming on the morning of the 1 December in anticipation of the release on 2 December.

Many stores are reporting low allotments of the consoles, but in numbers that are still far greater than those of Sony's recently released PlayStation 3.

European gamers will get their own slice of the action on 8 December when Wii goes on sale in the UK and on the Continent.

It will be priced at €250/£179 and will be bundled with Wii Sports, as well as a Remote and Nunchuk controller.