In Japan, the lines for the Nintendo Switch have been hell. The way that retailers are deciding who gets the consoles just caused big woes for one of Japan's most famous electronics chains.
In an effort to seemingly be "fair" and stymie the grey market, major chains like Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, and Toys "R" Us have been holding raffles, with a lucky few winning a chance to buy the Switch.
— 田中すゐちゃん (@Sx_4_) July 16, 2017
Customers line up, they are given wristbands with numbers on them, and if their number is selected, they can buy the console.
Platinum Games developer Hideki Kamiya recently tried to get a Nintendo Switch. He documented the experience in four photos.
Previously, you could simply line up for the hot new game hardware, and it was first come, first served. But several years ago, there started to be more and more of these raffle type sales, especially for hard-to-get children's toys. The raffles seem designed to discourage resellers, but if they're not done right, they can screw regular folks over.
Recently, Twitter user Jinsan recounted how he and a friend lined up at the Bic Camera at Mito Station in Ibaraki Prefecture, hoping to win a chance to buy the Splatoon 2 Switch bundle. According to Jinsan, the staff passed out wristbands with the numbers "179" and "181," leaving them wonder why they left out "180."
— じんさん@家勢 (@jokerdopant) July 21, 2017
Number 180, however, ended being selected, meaning that either Jisan or his friend could have won.
7月21日(金) #ニンテンドースイッチ『スプラトゥーン2』同梱版 抽選結果です☆
— ビックカメラ水戸駅店 (@biccameramito) July 21, 2017
Here are the winning numbers. You can see that the M.I.A. number 180 was selected.
Jisan's tweet got over 22,000 likes and was retweeted over 40,000 times. Bic Camera's Mito Station branch even issued an apology (below) for the missing number, saying it was "truly sorry for any trouble this caused customers."
[Image: Bic Camera]
In the apology, the store also said it would strive to do a better job managing the raffle numbers next time. But what about the unclaimed Splatoon 2 Switch bundle? It announced that it would be doing a special raffle for just that one console. It doesn't sound like they fucked that up.
This whole mess could be why at a branch of another retailer called Geo the "raffle event" was cancelled. Instead it's having all the children participate in a "paper-rock-scissors tournament" to decide who can purchase one of five Switch consoles it's getting in stock.
— 腐りかけ (@kisaragi2221) July 28, 2017
Paper-rock-scissors are often the way things are decided in Japan -- kind of like how Westerners flip coins. But what if one of the kids waits a second to see what the others do before throwing out a rock, papper, or scissors? In Japanese that move, which isn't allowed, is called "atodashi" (後出し). So, what if a kid does atodashi? Will they boot that one kid and make everyone else do it again? But what about those who win that around?
You know a good way this could all be prevented? If Nintendo, who always seems to have hardware shortages, made more consoles available in Japan.
Leave it to Japan to make a friendly game of rock-paper-scissors into an event, complete with cosplay, cheering, and crying.
Besides the hellish lines and the recent raffle mistake, the grey market in Japan has reportedly been screwing over people. According to Nikkei, scammers have been selling empty Switch boxes to people thinking they were buying the hardware.
Nintendo has made easier because the company is selling empty Splatoon 2 Switch bundle boxes.