Nintendo Sure Screwed Up The Majora’s Mask New 3DS Launch

Nintendo Sure Screwed Up The Majora’s Mask New 3DS Launch

On January 14, Nintendo announced a limited-edition Majora’s Mask-themed gold New 3DS XL. Since then, chaos has ruled humanity. Food is scarce. Most spend their days staying inside and huddling with their loved ones. Gangs of scalpers roam the streets to prey on hapless consumers who like shiny things.

Well, at least it feels that way. Never in my life have I seen people get as worked up over a piece of video game hardware as they have over this limited 3DS, partially because it’s a lovely, nostalgia-tickling system, and partially because Nintendo and its retail partners have totally bungled the launch, facilitating scalper greed and bumming out tons of Zelda-loving gamers.

Over the past month, I’ve been closely monitoring availability of the Majora’s 3DS, tracking the system’s availability in an ongoing Kotaku post that has somehow racked up close to three million pageviews. (Told you people were workedup.) And what I’ve seen is just a mess. Big retailers have been opening and cancelling pre-orders seemingly on a whim, while eBay scalpers make a mint off pre-orders they might not actually have. For a month now, interested customers have had to stay glued to their monitors in hopes that they’d get lucky and see an opportunity before it was too late. And Nintendo has communicated absolutely nothing. (We’ve asked them a few times to talk about this.)

This launch has been a disaster since the beginning, when pre-orders first opened at GameStop and sold out in about half an hour. (Unlucky customers who were typing in their credit card information when the system sold out, myself included, found themselves staring at empty carts when they tried to pay.) Some GameStops then started taking in-store orders, but they sold out before West Coast outlets even had time to open.

As other retailers started taking pre-orders, the bungles just got worse. On January 14 — announcement day — Best Buy took a whole bunch of orders for about an hour. A few days later, they realised that they had oversold — or maybe Nintendo just didn’t give them a big enough supply — so they cancelled for anyone who had purchased more than one system. And a few days after that, the retailer still didn’t have enough 3DSes, so they cancelled a ton of legitimate orders, offering $US50 gift cards as penance.

What’s notable here is the lack of communication from both Nintendo and Best Buy. If those people had known their pre-orders might be cancelled, maybe they would have had time to find the system elsewhere. And if Nintendo had made even the slightest bit of effort to talk about how many copies were available, where they’d be for sale, and when pre-orders would be open, maybe so many shoppers wouldn’t feel so screwed.

Perhaps the worst screw-up belonged to the folks at Target. On January 22, Target randomly opened pre-orders at around 3am ET with no warning whatsoever, either not realising or not caring that they’d sell out in minutes… which they did. Then, the retailer re-opened online orders on February 13 — likely by mistake, because they had to immediately cancel a whole bunch of those orders. Their “sorry we screwed up” gift? $US15 gift cards — $US35 less than what Best Buy had to offer.

So if you wanted one of these fancy gold systems, and you lucked into A) getting a pre-order and B) not suddenly seeing it get cancelled, congratulations. To the rest of you… well, sorry. Corporations suck.


  • Multiple orders should have been banned from the start.Blocked by IP, account and payment details. Resellers are scum of the earth.

    • What about when someone doesn’t want to settle for the too-often day-one dlc, but would like to get hold of the rare statuete that was only released in limited numbers and never even made it to any local suppliers? Then we go to the scalpers on eBay. I’m not saying that they are always a good thing but they provide a useful service to those who want more than just what is locally available.

  • I think Nintendo need to learn about supply and demand… so do Disney and Skylanders but they have the opposite problem it seems.

    As soon as I saw them announced for this 3DS on Nintendo direct I went to EB the following lunch and pre-ordered mine. The clerk said there where only about 3 left.

    On Nintendo AU’s facebook page they posted this in January:
    “Due to overwhelming demand, New Nintendo 3DS XL Majora’s Mask Edition is currently unavailable for pre-order in Australia and New Zealand, however an additional limited quantity will be made available in March.
    Please stay tuned to your local retailer for news on availability”

    So for those who still want them there may be hope without turning to scalpers.
    I do love it, but I must say I was a little disappointed with 2 things.
    – Majora’s was not pre-loaded
    – You have to buy the Gold Majora’s theme.

    At least the Pokemon and A Link Between World’s 3/2DS’ come with those games preloaded.

    • Yeah but this costs the same as a base new 3ds so I can understand why it didn’t come preloaded. With only a limited budget I couldn’t have afforded to get majoras mask with this limited edition 3ds at the same time. So I appreciate the separation of the limited edition 3DS and the game.

      • I would have happily paid a little more for the game.
        A 2DS is $150 and $180 with Pokemon pre-installed.
        The N-3DS is $250 + $50 (price matched) for a rough total of $300. Would have been nice if they could drop $20 or so.

        But at the very least pre-install the $2.60 theme that matches system.

    • The second shipment was made available for pre-order about 2 weeks ago and has already sold out since then.

      • It was still open at the time of your comment. Now there are some accounts of people finding them in random JB stores on Whirlpool. We got pretty luck with this release while the Americans got screwed hard (pre-orders lasting 15 minutes and still over-selling their stock?) The last ‘Zelda’ launch didn’t go well for them either. The special edition Hyrule Warriors with scarf sold at one retailer in the whole country and that was limited to a few hundred units.

    • That limited quantity in March is already sold out for EB, at the very least. So I reckon it’s still going to be near impossible.

  • Devils advocate for Nintendo.
    It was a limited edition model, they can, and did, limit the amount of units crafted. They perhaps should have been more clear to the retailers, well in advance, about the number of units that each retailer would have access to but this was also on the retailers to not open the floodgates and then have to backtrack when they themselves were not keeping an eye on things.

    • Having been a big buyer of limited editions when they went down in price or when they were second-hand on ebay. I’m more than happy to abandon the idea that special editions should be in small quantity with fixed values. As can be seen, scalpers have taken that situation to full advantage.

  • This article raises several important issues but it does not make any sense in context to Australian sales of Nintendo hardware and software.

    That said, can we please see more like this story – but in relation to local market?

    Is Nintendo (Aussie arm) responsible for getting stock of hardware into this country or is it one of those import businesses that source goods for your Harvey Norman’s, JB’s, etc?

    If it’s NAU itself, does it get the EU leftovers? Or does HQ in Japan work these things out?

    If it’s handled by another organisation, how much say do the stores have? The eastern seaboard obviously gets the lion-share of everything with the words ‘Nintendo’ on it but those of us unlucky enough to live anywhere else in this country have to scrimp and scrounge and save for a) expensive pre-orders b) eBay scalpers or c) go without.

    The ONLY time I’ve seen local media do anything with Nintendo here is when the Chasers stormed their head office in a Donkey Kong costume….

    • I had to go to the physical store Eb Games to pre order mine. I noticed signs around the eb games store saying only 1 per customer in regards to the limited edition 3DS’s. Still sold out day 1 but they later secured a second shipment which I think arrives early march.

    • Japan determines quantities for Nintendo Australia, who then either open it up to retailers to order. If the amount retailers want to order is greater than the amount of stock Nintendo have, then Nintendo will allocate stock as they see fit.

  • I’m so glad I abstained myself of this. The amiibos are stressful and disappointment filled enough and I only wanted a few of them.

  • Wow, if anyone in Australia is looking for one of these check your local JB! Mine still has a whole bunch in stock!

  • I must have got really lucky – 2 days after the announcement I went into JB and order mine – not a problem.

  • Not the first time they’ve messed with Zelda fans… not likely to be the last.

    It doesn’t matter to Nintendo that they’re treated like dirt, because they keep coming back.
    It’s an abusive relationship.

  • The monster hunter one is sooooo much better, and mh4 is more useful as a digital game because you’ll be going back to it again and again.

    Or just get the MM faceplates for the non-xl like I did… :p

    • Yeah, I got my Monster Hunter 4 Edition, and it is beautiful. I’m absolutely loving it 🙂 Swapped out the 4 GB card with a 32 GB one, but I’m not sure if I want Monster Hunter 4 as digital or physical. I’m still leaning toward physical, just so I can still have the game and have it work 20 years from now without jumping through any extra hoops 🙂

    • I struggled with the decision of getting the MM or MH New 3DS, in the end I didn’t want to give EB money so I got the MM 3DS. But I also picked up the MH4 as well.

  • Sure, some of these retailers should have communicated better and managed the stock better by not overselling. But that Best Buy situation actually indicates that scalpers aren’t a significant issue. The fact that once they realised they oversold they tried to target scalpers and it made no difference shows the console is just in a lot of demand. Not to mention, a $50 gift card is pretty good compensation.
    Another one of the complaints was that the system sold out really fast. No shit, they said it was limited edition.

  • I walked into JB Doncaster on Sunday and asked if they had any (I never pre-ordered). They gave me a list of stores in Melbourne which had them (there were about 5 stores with them) and I picked one up half and hour later. So if anyone wants one, you can probably still track one down without too much fuss.

  • I went down to EBGames the day it was announced and ordered mine.

    If shops in the US took more orders than stock they were going to receive then that’s the fault of the shops, no?

  • I don’t know why they didn’t just introduce swappable faceplates to both models of the new 3ds and then have limited edition faceplates. I imagine it would be easier/cheaper to make a second run of faceplates than whole new 3ds units.

  • I ordered mine the day after the announcement and then on the release ordered another coming in late March.

    this just must be a nintendo America issue?

  • My girlfriend happened to be browsing the ebgames website before they announced the console on the day. It was already up for preorder. Now the console is resting comfortably in my bag

    If it’s not a piece of software with Zelda/ Mario/ Metroid on the box, then there’s a 99% chance that they’ll f*ck it up in some incomprehensible manner. I don’t know why anyone would allow themselves to get their hopes up that they wouldn’t f*ck it up for long enough to be disappointed when they did.

    I am a little surprised that so many people care about this particular edition too. I mean I’d like one, but at the end of the day it’s just a thin coat of paint that going to get scratched up and ignored once you start playing (some awesome) games on it.
    I mean I love Majora’s Mask, but if I had a choice and this console was an extra $5, I’d take a plain coloured machine.

    • It isn’t going to be scratched up if you take care of it, my Link between worlds 3ds is fine and doesn’t have any wear and tear on it.

      Also this is something that a lot of people would of jumped on to upgrade to the NEW XL.

      If you’re aware of how Nintendo do smallish runs of hardware like this then you won’t be caught out. It really is the stores faults for over selling preorders.

  • I saw the Nintendo direct, and received an email from EB. Wandered down and scored a preorder. I also preordered the special edition game as soon as it was announced the remake was being made, before they’d actually said there would be a special edition.

  • after seeing stories like this I kind of feel a little bad for pre ordering a majoras mask one just to sell off later.

  • I purchased two consoles, so what? Nintendo gave me a Skull Kid figurine for my efforts too. Moral of the story – first in, best dressed. Live with it.

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