By Charles Paw
The 3rd of March of 2017 was supposed to be just like any other Friday, an impetus for a fun-filled weekend. But then, it happened. The Nintendo Switch happened.
Nintendo has long been the de facto market leader in the portable gaming space, from the original Game Boy to the DS, Nintendo totally steam-rolled the competition in the handheld market. But in the home console industry, Nintendo has always been a distant 3rd to Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Playstation. With the release of the Switch, Nintendo is hoping to strike gold and finally regain the dominance they once enjoyed during the 8-bit and 16-bit era. The Nintendo Switch is a home console/portable machine hybrid. It can be docked on a cradle and subsequently connected to an HD TV for the typical console gaming experience. For the portable experience, simply undock the Switch and use it as you normally would a tablet. If you’re not into touch screen controls, simply snap the Switch controller in half and attach it on both sides of the Switch. Bam. Now you have a tablet with actual, physical controllers on both of its side.
I know my description of the Switch seems a bit confusing, but trust me when I say I think Nintendo has a winner with the Switch. But still, I don’t think it’s going to be strong enough to dethrone Sony or Microsoft. But that’s a topic for another time. For this article, I’d like to tackle the one thing that always bothered me about Nintendo; the product shortages.
Nintendo makes great products, we can all agree on that. But the claimed shortages of their products are really starting to get annoying. It started with the Wii. During the first year of the Wii’s existence, you’d be hard pressed to easily walked into a store and buy a unit. No, the constant shortages of the Nintendo Wii had buyers constantly on edge and waiting for shipment announcements. After the Wii, the insanely popular Amiibo line of figurines were also suffering from shortages. Popular Amiibo characters were really getting hard to come by, with some sellers jacking up the prices to take advantage of the demand. Now the Switch is also suffering from the same shortage problem of that plagued the Wii.
It’s a shame really, Nintendo has made great products only to be hampered by product shortages. But it begs the question, is there really a shortage? I really find it hard that a company as big as Nintendo still has not fixed their supply chain problem. There’s a popular conspiracy theory within the gaming industry that Nintendo is artificially creating the shortage to drive up demand. I typically hate conspiracy theories but I do think that Nintendo’s Marketing Team has had a hand with the “shortages”. The Wii was a gimmicky device, a good gaming device but albeit a gimmicky one. Motion controls are a novelty at best, but the “shortage” problem gave the Wii a seemingly good reputation of a device that’s highly coveted, hence making the public want it even more.
The Nintendo Switch, underpowered as it is compared to the competition, is a very good gaming device. Nintendo, at its core, is a gaming company that consistently churns out awesome games. And the shortage, be it real or not, does the company a disservice. Nintendo, make your fans happy, stop making it difficult for us to get a hold of your products. Not everyone has the patience to wait for an item to become available. Make the Switch readily available and who knows, you might be able to make a comeback and take back the crown from Sony and Microsoft.