Nintendo Switch shortages in Japan are starting to cause problems for retailers and customers alike, as reported by Kotaku . With customers lining up outside stores to try and snap up the next batch of Switch consoles retailers attempting to be fair to consumers are causing problems for Nintendo.
Major chains in Japan such as Toy’s R Us have been holding raffles to determine who from the queue will have the opportunity to purchase a shiny new Switch. The way this works is the potential clients lined up outside the store are given numbered wrist bands, if their number is selected they can purchase a console. This is intended to make the process fair and discourage re-sellers but it is also causing problems. As reported on twitter by @jokerdopant, when queuing the number bands went from 179 to 181 but of course 180 was drawn, which had not been allocated. At last count, this had been retweeted in excess of 40,000 times.
An outlet of electronics store Geo decided that given the criticism of the raffle method, that instead it would hold a paper scissors rock tournament where children would compete for the prize of purchasing a Nintendo Switch. Now generally when you enter and win a tournament (or a raffle for that matter) you usually get a prize. The idea of entering a tournament to win the opportunity to spend money is somewhat new. Let alone discussion around whether having children battle it out for a Nintendo Switch is a positive experience. What happens if you enter your child and they lose your Nintendo Switch in the last round?
I guess the only positive from this is that we are not yet in a Battle Royale “fight to the death” situation or a “how low will you go” situation, but things are heading in that direction. Of course, the answer to all of this is that Nintendo should simply make enough consoles to meet demand. Shortages are almost always expected when a console is brand new, but several months on from release is both frustrating and disappointing… especially because this seems to happen with every single console or hot item Nintendo release.
With the SNES mini console due out shortly and expected to be sold out before hitting shelves, maybe it’s time Nintendo rethink their famous scarcity/demand strategy and just make a few extra consoles so their fans can buy them.