The Nintendo switch was released today. And just as fast as the doors at Gamestop and Bestbuy opened at 12:01AM, the Nintendo Switch was sold out.
There was just about zero opportunity to buy the switch online on launch day, either. Bestbuy changed the blocked off “coming soon” buttons to “sold out” at around 7AM PST, and Target had its buttons changed to “Only in stores”.
Buying online may be out of the question for some time, too. It seems retailers – specifically online retailers – seem to be left in the dark in terms of distribution. Amazon states it’s unclear about the whole situation, and has ended up delaying many people’s shipments due to a lack of inventory.
I get it, Nintendo. You’re the cool kid with the hip gadget with all the bells and whistles. You’ve hyped up the crowd, and your launch seems to be going a bit better than you expected…or is it?
Over the last two decades, Nintendo has understocked retailers with its consoles. Perhaps due to the fact Nintendo likes creating hype around its releases; the short supply paired with some great marketing leaves people with anticipation.
Or maybe Nintendo is scared. The Wii launched with record breaking sales, but its momentum quickly declined when people realized just how gimmicky the console was. Amazing games like Skyword Sword or Donkey Kong Country Returns were lackluster due to its gimmicky, forced, shoddy motion controls. After that, the WiiU came with a lackluster lineup. The WiiU itself is a decent console with very few worth-while titles, making it difficult to justify the $200-$300 expense. The WiiU sold almost record low quantities at launch.
But maybe, just maybe, Nintendo is just ignorant and dumb. There’s plenty of data and analytics around the anticipation of the console’s release. This wouldn’t be surprising, since Nintendo didn’t anticipate the demand for the NES Classic. They claimed it was a bit of a different ballgame; they didn’t look at it like a full console, but rather a device for its older gamers who played those classic titles long ago. That would make sense if the Wii wasn’t scarce during its first couple years after release.
But instead of meeting demand with ample distribution of its products, Nintendo fails to meet demand over, and over, and over again, meanwhile the media paints a more positive narrative about the console’s so-called success.
This may be Nintendo’s plan, it may not be. But deep down, I really feel like Nintendo doesn’t know what they’re doing, and is struggling to stay relevant.
Keep in mind, the only strong release title is the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. All other games are either simple puzzle or party games, or re-hashed WiiU games. WiiU did the same thing, but didn’t launch with any strong release title.
Sure, the Nintendo Switch has some decent titles coming out throughout the year…but…is it really enough to keep people from giving up on the console? Is it enough to keep up demand?
And is it worth Nintendo not meeting demand with ample supply, having decades of historical? Clearly, over time, this tactic just doesn’t work. Nintendo doesn’t dominate the market like the did in the 90’s; there are other consoles with more third party developer support we gamers can run to when Nintendo lets us down. Nintendo just doesn’t seem to realize it.
Please stop. Stop ignoring the demand of your loyal fans. Stop toying with their feelings by delaying anticipated game releases so you can release your new console with some level of security (I’m looking at you BOTW/Switch, and Twilight Princes/Wii).
We get it, we broke up for awhile after the Wii, and again with the WiiU. Please, don’t do this to us again. Give us great games and great consoles to play them on, like you used to. Don’t give us this vast inventory of release titles that hardly match the inventory of the console they’re meant to be played on. That’s just…stupid!
Instead, listen to your fans, and at the very, very least, meet us half way.