Nintendo has long been dividing nerds around the world. The hard-core fans protect the Japanese brand through thick and thin, while some gamers focus on making jokes about the company and it’s games – in the gaming world, no one is safe.
However, Nintendo did cause a lot of positive stir when it announced it would be publishing a new gaming console. After a lot of wait, countless Internet memes and fan anticipation, the game finally released on March 3. Then it sold out – everywhere!
So, what was that all about? Was Nintendo Switch just so good that everyone went out and bought it in droves, or did Nintendo employ a coy strategy? Perhaps more importantly, are you going to be able to get your hands on it?
Generating the hype
Nintendo Switch sold out almost immediately when it was released. The gaming console received a number of pre-orders around the world and queues started forming at midnight before the release date.
The sell out was successful because the hype around the console had been building up. Nintendo hadn’t released a new gaming console in a long time and people were eager for something new. That Nintendo delivered. The idea of a mixed-use console – one that you can use at home or take with you – seemed like a great idea. You can plug Switch to your TV or just snap the controllers and play with your friends – the experience differs from what Sony and Microsoft are offering, so anticipation grew.
Furthermore, while the gaming console clearly lacked – and still does – big titles, there is something you shouldn’t underestimate: the power of Zelda fans. When Nintendo revealed the title’s newest installation would be available on Switch, every Zelda fanatic in the world signed up for a pre-order.
Despite the gaming console coming with a hefty price tag, these little unique aspects were enough to generate hype. People wanted to be the first to experience the console, especially in the world of social media. In the era of Twitch, being able to play the game or the console first is golden – it will generate viewers.
Being ill prepared for the interest
So, did the Nintendo Switch sell out because of the overwhelming consumer anticipation and successful hype generated by the company or was it something else? Perhaps ill managed demand and supply?
The company has not been enjoying a great deal of success, especially in financial terms. Nintendo needed the Switch to be a hit to return shareholder trust and boost its bottom line.However, with such a hefty price tag it’s rather obvious the gaming console didn’t want to take a risk. In a sense it played it safe by manufacturing enough consoles to meet the demands. Sometimes having to say ‘we don’t have enough products’ is better than ‘please, someone buy it we have tons of stock’.
Interestingly, it might not really be about Nintendo being ill prepared but rather gaming retailers not ordering enough stock. The Switch has been available on the official Nintendo website for most of the time, even though Amazon sold out. Perhaps there has been plenty of “shopping in the wrong place”. It could also be that Nintendo has been unable to respond to retailer requests of re-stock on time.
Ramping up production
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo is now ramping up production. The company plans to make 16 million Switches in the current fiscal year (starting April 2017). This would be nearly double its original plan.
Furthermore, the Independent reported in mid-March how retailers are beginning to refill their stock and taking in new orders. Indeed, a number of gaming retailers in the UK are only able to offer pre-order options for buying the Switch. However, new deals are popping up and the increase in production should make the game more accessible to new buyers.
So, if you do want to check out the console, you will have more opportunities to do so in the coming weeks. The console is available to order – even as it’s out of stock – on most game retailers. Since the price tag is not the most enjoyable for your wallet, you should consider utilising coupon codes and special offers. This means, either waiting a bit longer for summer sales or checking out OZCodes.com.au which provides special discounts from gaming retailers.
The key question for Nintendo is to keep up with the momentum. Not all reviews of Switch are flattering, although many are sold out on the console (pun intended). If it can’t, then ramping up production now might end up being costly.