The Hunt for a Nintendo Switch Is On: Stock Is Very Hard to Find

The Hunt for a Nintendo Switch Is On: Stock Is Very Hard to Find

Whether it's because of supply or demand, the Nintendo Switch is moving off store shelves.

In an investors call yesterday, GameStop COO Tony Bartel told investors and analysts that the Nintendo Switch is performing very well for the company. We're still lacking real sales numbers, but GameStop overall sounds bullish on the system's prospects for the month and the rest of the year.

Don't have one yet? Good luck finding one.

"The demand is incredibly strong for [the Switch]. As soon as we get it into our stores, it's out within hours. So we anticipate we're going to be chasing supply this entire year," said Bartel during the call. "There is tremendous demand for this, and we just don't know how high it is because every time we get it out in our stores it's literally gone."

GameStop CEO Paul Raines noted that there have been "multiple replenishments since the launch," many of which have "sold out in hours."

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild topped the list of games and accessories purchased by new Nintendo Switch owners. The latest Zelda is the flagship title for the Nintendo Switch and one of the reasons many people bought the system in the first place. Bartel said that the average Switch buyer purchased 5.5 related products, which covers games and accessories.

"The other thing is, every game that's out there, to have over a five and a half attach rate to this, signifies that a lot of people are finding this a great platform and they're picking up any games that they can. I mean, we have almost a one-to-one attach of Zelda," said Bartel.

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Heading into the weekend, that's holding true at a number of retailers in North America. Amazon announced earlier today that the Nintendo Switch was going back on sale, but that didn't last very long, with stock being gone in under an hour. The online retailer seemingly used the available Switches as an incentive to get people on Amazon Prime, as the Switch was only available to Prime users. GameStop also received some units at sporadic retail locations and you can expect that most of those are already gone.

Toys R Us confirmed to GameSpot that its retail locations across the United States will be receiving units tomorrow on March 25. A Toys R Us representative said that they expect units to "fly off shelves". If you want a Switch at this point, you need to go hunting for one, as Nintendo is doing what it can to keep retail stocked.

Nintendo has had stock issues with previous consoles post-launch, but this is one of the few times that company has offered a worldwide launch on a system. The company previously stated that it wanted to ship 2 million Nintendo Switch systems by the end of its fiscal year on March 31, 2017. Estimates from SuperData Research put total worldwide sales at 1.5 million, but Nintendo has yet to give firm sales numbers.

There have been reports that Nintendo is doubling production over the next fiscal year to account for the system's strong retail start. Production of systems was originally estimated at 8 million total systems over the course of the next fiscal year ending on March 31, 2018. That number is jumping up to 16 million.

For Nintendo, the real test is what comes in the months after launch. The Wii U and 3DS both has very strong starts, but both fell off in sales post-launch. The Wii U never really recovered, whereas the 3DS rallied after Nintendo pivoted with a deep price cut and some great holiday releases. Nintendo is relying on Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to help the system ride out until the Holiday 2017 release of Super Mario Odyssey.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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