Nintendo’s portable Switch gaming console is selling like hotcakes, or it would be if there were enough to go around. Major retailers are having a difficult time keeping the product on shelves. Auctions on eBay are getting $400 or more on the $299 device and sellers on the site are asking $450 to “buy it now.”
Why is the device in such short supply? Some have accused Mario and company of intentionally shorting shipments to drive up demand, and it would not be the first time Nintendo has been accused of such actions.
In 2007, the Wii console had a hard time meeting demand. At the time Gamasutra reported that Gamestop COO Dan Dematteo said that he felt the company was intentionally withholding Wii shipments “because they made their numbers for the year.” Nintendo denied the allegation.
Ars Technica interviewed Nintendo Senior Director of Corporate Communications Charlie Scibetta recently and asked him directly about the shortage.
“It's definitely not intentional in terms of shorting the market. We're making it as fast as we can. We want to get as many units out as we can to support all the software that's coming out right now... our job really is to get it out as quick as we can, especially for this holiday because we want to have units on shelves to support Super Mario Odyssey.”
Scibetta says that Nintendo just underestimated the amount of interest there would be in the console. In the first month alone, the company sold 2.7 million units worldwide. Business analysts project another 10 million units selling by the end of the fiscal year.
“Unfortunately, we're in a situation right now where as quick as it's going into retail outlets it's being snapped up.”
It is unclear how long shortages of the Nintendo Switch will last. Back in March, Gamestop CEO Paul Raines indicated that he expected shortages to last all year. Scibetta had no light to shed on the matter other than saying, “We're working very hard to try and meet demand.”
If you do not mind paying the extra 100-150 bucks, Amazon has the Switch with gray JoyCons for $400 and one with red and blue controllers for $419. The gray version is in stock now, but the red/blue is not available until June 28.