Nintendo Switch goes live… sort of

Nintendo’s newest console/handheld gaming system Nintendo Switch was released last night for retail sale. People were lined up for hours before the midnight release in hopes of scoring the chance to pay $299.00 for a system.

Nintendo’s website for buying a Switch has links to retailers:

Amazon – Sold Out. They have a link to a list of scalped Nintendo Switch units starting at $429.95 for the gray unit and $445 for the more colorful blue and neon red model.

Best Buy – Sold out. No links to scalped Nintendo Switch units.

GameStop – Sold out. No links to scalped Nintendo Switch units.

Target – Sold out. No links to scalped Nintendo Switch units.

Walmart – When you click on Nintendo’s link for Walmart, it takes you directly to their scalper page. I’m assuming this means Walmart is completely sold out, but it’s not very clear. The scalped units start at $599.99 and go up from there.

Toys R Us – Out of stock. No links to scalped Nintendo Switch units.

I think Amazon and Walmart are acting unethically by linking to “third-party” sellers of Nintendo Switch units. Amazon and Walmart both get a cut of the purchase price when a scalper sells a Nintendo Switch through them. In fact, they probably make more money off each Nintendo Switch sale through a scalper than they do from their own retail stock.

Amazon and Walmart can’t sell the Nintendo Switch for more than $299.99. This price is locked in by Nintendo. There’s no such limit when it comes to their scalper partners. With them, the sky’s the limit.

I don’t want a Nintendo Switch. The graphics on the TV screen look terrible. If I wanted to play a console game, I’d rather play the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One. If I wanted to play a handheld game, I’d rather play the Nintendo 3DS or my iPad.

Nintendo Switch goes live... sort of - Bent Corner
The Swiss Army Knife does everything, except do any one thing well.

I’m not a fan of the multi-purpose design philosophy. A Swiss Army Knife is a terrible pocket knife. It’s too big to fit comfortable in a pocket and the various blades and tools are never as good as the single-purpose equivalent.

The same thing applies to a gaming system.

 

Why does Nintendo create artificial demand?

If you wanted to buy a Nintendo New 3DS XL this holiday season, you’ve probably noticed they’re hard to come by. That’s because Nintendo of America artificially creates a higher demand for these hand-held game consoles by purposely not making enough to satisfy the demand. Why? How does this benefit Nintendo and its shareholders? I see how it helps eBay and Amazon scalpers, but not Nintendo.

The Nintendo New 3DS XL has a manufacturer suggested retail price of $199.99. Try buying one right now at that price. You can’t, not from a standard retailer. They’re all sold out. You can find them on the secondary market, but not at that price.

Why does Nintendo create artificial demand? - Bent Corner
What good is buying an abiibo Pit figure if you cannot buy the game console it interacts with?

I just don’t get it. Nintendo can’t make money from selling games and game accessories if consumers can’t get their hands on the game console. If you want to buy a Playstation 4 or an Xbox One, there’s really nothing hard about it. You just go to a store and buy one. That’s not the case with anything made by Nintendo.

When the Nintendo Wii first came out ten years ago, they were very hard to obtain. People who had no natural interest in the gaming consoles would search stores for them so that they could then post them for sale on Craigslist. People needing a Wii for Christmas presents for their children would happily buy them from a scalper on Craigslist.

This scheme on Nintendo’s part seems so short sided. What they should be doing is flooding the market with their consoles. Once consumers have the console, they’ll then be in a position to buy games, from retailers and directly from Nintendo through their digital download store.

It’s like the razors and blades business model. Companies sell the razors at a loss, but make up for it with selling lots and lots of disposable blades. I’m not saying Nintendo should be selling New 3DS XL consoles at a loss, but they should make enough for people to actually buy them.

Nintendo’s amiibo wave 4 hit stores today

Wave 4 of Nintendo’s amiibo figures hit retails today. You may see lines of eager gamers lined up outside your local Target in hopes of snagging an exclusive amiibo figure. Target is selling an exclusive Pokémon Jigglypuff figure today in their physical stores. The figure sells for $12.99 and will surely sell out in seconds.

The figures are unique in that they don’t just sit on a gamer’s shelf collecting dust and looking pretty. Each amiibo figure has a near field communication (NFC) chip, allowing it to interface with certain Wii U GamePad and the New Nintendo 3DS games. Not all figures are created in the same number. Some are quite plentiful, others, are much harder to find because they were made in lower quantities. Others, like the Jigglypuff figure, can only be purchased at a specific retailer.

Why are amiibo figures so popular?

I guess I don’t really understand the attraction amiibo figures offer. You could say that I’m not Nintendo’s target audience, but I do own a 3DS, albeit not the New Nintendo 3DS that interfaces with the amiibo figures. I guess if amiibo appealed to me, I could go out and upgrade to the New Nintendo 3DS.

I have to wonder if the artificial rarity that Nintendo has created has led to amiibo’s popularity. Are they hard-to-get because they’re so popular or are they popular because they’re so hard-to-get? Every store I’ve been in has some amiibo figures warming the pegs. They’re just not the hard-to-get figures.

I have to think that by Nintendo making some amiibo figures in far lesser numbers than other figures, they’ve made the line more popular than if they made all amiibo figures in the same quantities.