The 3DS has been getting a lot of attention — especially because of Nintendo World as of late — and if the glasses-less 3D effects and phenomenal graphics haven't already made people want to pre-order the intriguing device, then news that the system will almost certainly face shortages should.
This info comes straight from the Japanese Wall Street Journal and states that very few of the portables will be available at launch, so those who have yet to reserve their 3DS may want to do so now.
According to the Japanese Wall Street Journal (or the JWSJ as Game Rant commonly refers to it as), Nintendo will provide 1.5 million 3DSs to Japan through their first fiscal year which goes through to March 31st. North America and Europe on the other hand, will be stuck splitting 2.5 million units until March 31st.
These numbers may seem abundant, but for those who care to flashback to the launch of the Wii may remember that the system had a total of 6 million launched by the end of its fiscal year. Of course, the Nintendo Wii launched in September which means it was on shelves almost half a year longer than the 3DS, so the system shouldn't face the immediate shortages that plagued the Wii. That being said, to assume that that's all there will be for the 3DS' first month of retail still almost confirms that shortages will be rampant across retailers.
If the 3DS launches at the end of March then hopefully Nintendo will be able to start shipping more stock as soon as possible. Shortages aren't necessarily a bad thing though. Nintendo loves them and you should too, because if the system isn't selling what it's shipping then early adopters may be stuck with another Virtual Boy on their hands with barely any games to enjoy on their shiny new $300 investment.
A word to the wise, make sure there's a 3DS with your name on it sitting at your local GameStop prior to release to ensure that you'll get one. If you're planning on heading to Walmart on the morning of the 3DS' launch and casually picking one up then you may want to prepare for the worst. However, if you think the battery life in the current model isn't up to par, or if you fear losing your eye sight, then you may be better off waiting for the eventual redesign.