See that beautiful little piece of hardware? How much do you want it? How much are you willing to pay for it? Those are question that you may very well have to ask yourself the minute Nintendo Switch preorders go live. Yeah, I know, I’m a week behind on this one. I knew about it, I didn’t want to give it its own article, but screw it, I need to make people aware that this might be a thing. The rumor is that the Nintendo Switch will be limited at launch, somewhere between 10 and 30 Switches per GameStop and I imagine a similar amount for other retailers. This goes hand in hand with the Foxconn leak from November that said that that specific manufacturing plant was not producing to capacity. They could produce 200,000 units, but they were only ordered to produce 20,000(I might have those numbers a little mixed up, it might have been 20,000 at max capacity, but only producing 2,000) and so the leaker said not to worry about quality because the quality of the finished products will be good, but he wasn’t sure why Nintendo ordered so few. That was also the same leak that said Nintendo produced a more powerful dev kit in October(Before Laura Kate Dale said it.) and the tech in the Switch was Pascal and the CPU an ARM A73.
Now, the first answer that comes to mind is that Nintendo is doing what they’ve been doing the last few years: artificial scarcity. You supply less than the demand on purpose to try and drive demand even higher. It’s a psychological tactic and if I’m not mistaken they did it with the Wii as well because I remember the Wii being sold out for the longest time, like a year or so. Now, granted, it could really be a quality control thing. It is limited on purpose, but that’s to ensure each Switch tablet is well made and not hastily thrown together, ensuring a higher quality product will reach consumers hands. But this is Nintendo we’re talking about. Amiibo were in high demand, but there weren’t enough to go around. This was done on purpose and it worked because everyone wanted one and would snatch them up the moment they came back in stock. The same with the recent NES Classic, Nintendo produced very few of them and each GameStop got somewhere between 5 and 10. Interest might not have been that high initially, but once it was sold out, everyone wanted to get their hands on one. It became a hot item though it remains to be seen if Nintendo will ramp production up now that the holiday is over and we’re about two months past the NES Classic’s release.
My biggest concern is not the availability of the Switch(though that is a problem.), but more the interest in the Switch should there not be enough. Consumers are already on the fence about Nintendo. Interest in the Switch is high if the reveal video is anything to go by, but we’re talking 2 to 4 million people, not the 60 million of the PS4 or the 65 million of the 3DS. People are rightfully skeptical and just waiting and watching how things go. If Nintendo under produces the Switch it will limit the install base of the system and those skeptics might view it as incompetency. This isn’t some side hardware like the NES Classic, this is a major game console release. You want that to sell as much as it can initially to draw in third party interest and to try and entice others to get in on the bandwagon. And after Nintendo has pulled the same trick twice in just two years, people are understandably peeved at Nintendo. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, and you’re done.