Japan's Nintendo Switch Lines Are Hell 

The already long Nintendo Switch lines have gotten that much longer. Meaning? Things are suddenly more unpleasant for those wanting to buy a Switch.

[Image: pachi_pansya]

As Kotaku previously reported, the console has been drawing long lines for months afters its release, and well-known game creator Hideki Kamiya recounted his unsuccessful attempt at trying to buy one. While those were long lines, the most recent ones in Tokyo and Osaka are brutal.

A massive line formed this morning at the Yodobashi Camera in Tokyo's Akihabara. It was apparently over 3000 people long!

Here is a listing of winning raffle numbers. Those who waited and got these numbers can buy a Switch. [Image: plolizaki]

The store only had 250 Nintendo Switch consoles!

Remember, folks are lining up for a chance to buy. When game consoles are in short supply, Japanese retailers hold raffles. These are typically done in the morning, so while you probably don't need to camp out overnight, you do need to get in line. People waiting get a number, there is a drawing, and those with the winning numbers can buy the console.

Summers are hot and humid in Japan, and here we have thousands of people waiting hours for a chance to spend money. If they don't win, they will go home empty-handed and sweaty.

Here is today's Yodobashi Camera line in Akihabara.

On Sunday, there was a similar raffle at the Yodobashi Camera in Osaka's Umeda, which only had 200 Switch consoles. The line was reportedly 2100 people long.

No wonder people on Twitter have been calling these raffle events "jigoku" (地獄) or "hell".

And Splatoon 2 isn't even out yet!


    Deliberate shortages yeah? Why are there no lines anywhere else? Why can i walk into my nearest five retailers and find stock? Nintendo really has mastered the art of not selling things people want to buy.

      It seems bizarre to me. Creating artificial shortages can be a way to drive up demand or justify an increase in price, so you can make more money in the long term. But if you're not increasing price (which they're not) and the demand is clearly already enormous... what's the point?

      Maybe they actually do just lack the production capacity and miss-estimate the demand in each market, but it keeps happening...

      They are a business and exist to make money. Selling a completely new type of system that is untested in the market, you don't know if it will be a success or not. Estimating that, booking production lines months in advance, fighting with Apple and other manufacturers for parts etc.

      They are not driving the price up, so they are not creating artificial scarcity. Producing too much stock and having it sitting somewhere costs money.

        I get that - by why is Japan the only place with these crazy lines?

          Probably because the demand over there is much greater than here? Japan has often been very big on Nintendo and Sony. Or they allocated more to other larger markets?

            Which again, points to someone not doing their job very well. I get the whole build hype thing. But units sitting on shelves gathering dust in Australia while consumers in Japan have to enter raffles for the chance to buy one seems like bad business.

              I'm sure they would hire anyone with psychic market prediction powers!

                novas right. Someone didn't do their job very well and it's got nothing to do with psychic powers. It's called market research and logistics

    For there to be this much of an issue I have to doubt at this point that it's deliberate - but I guess none of us really know for sure?

    This is an issue now with everything they release - nes-classic, amiibo, switch. Are they doing it on purpose or does their manufacturing process/strategy department just suck?

    I guess if it's part of the culture you grew up in then it wouldn't seem so bad, but there is absolutely no chance i'd queue to have a chance of buying something...?

      It's not deliberate. It was a new and untested design.

      Let's say you are selling a new type of chair. You buy enough material to make 100 chairs. Then you have hem all built. More cost. Then you try and sell them. You only sell 35. Now you have 65 chairs left, and you have to either pay to keep them in storage while trying to sell them or give them away or wait for the slow sales trickle to come in. Either way, you are running at a loss.

      Nintendo are the same. They had no idea if this thing would be a crazy success or not. Not to mention it's all a bit more complicated. The factories that make these things - you'd have to book them months in advance. Not to mention the worldwide shortage on parts like NAND that have been reported in the media. Apple is ramping up the next iPhone and heaps of other manufactures are releasing them all the time.

        Not sure why you keep pushing this narrative. Untested design? What? How is this different from launching any other new hardware product?

        I think you're forgetting just how quickly Nintendo went from announcing the Switch (Oct 2016) to launching it (Mar 2017). That's insanely quick. Normally companies have a much larger window to build up their stock reserves for launch demand, and probably goes a long way to explaining the shortage.

        I think you're also forgetting that the money is in the software, not the hardware, so Nintendo would want to produce as many of these things as humanly possible or there won't be anyone to buy software, the actual thing that makes them money.

        Edited for bad grammar.

        Last edited 19/07/17 9:39 am

          Just about every console upgrade is just the previous one with more power. No other ones have let you just pick it up and play portable with almost no drop in quality. There have been handhelds. There have been consoles. This one is both. Untested. Would people even buy it?

          Announcing vs release. Where is the rule that a company cannot manufacture something until they tell the public about it?

          Even if they are making very little on the hardware, they cannot produce it for free. They are still paying to buy all the parts, buy assembly lines to put it all together etc.

        Except it's not a "new and untested design" anymore, is it? The system launched in March and has proven to be a big seller.

          Any they are making as many as they can to keep up with demand. You can't just walk into a factory, kick out Samsung or whomever and announce you are making more Switches.

    Why don't they just order from an online retailer here in Australia? Am I missing something?

    You would have to wait for hours getting in line for a Nintendo Switch you want so much in Japan but here in Australia you don't have to wait that long to pick up your Nintendo Switch you've just ordered over the Internet you just show them your confirmation email that your order is ready to be picked up just like what I've done 4 months earlier when the Nintendo Switch came out on launch day which is March 3.

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