It says much for how events have unfolded in recent months that this writer's first thought upon the reveal of a New Nintendo 3DS XL limited edition - with a design from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D - wasn't "oh my that's gorgeous", but rather "fingers crossed there's enough stock". In the Holiday season Nintendo failed to meet demand for the GameCube Controller Adapter for Wii U and a host of amiibo figures, while early limited editions of the aforementioned Majora's Mask 3D also disappeared within hours, particularly in the US.
Nintendo is guilty, undeniably, of simply not producing enough stock; it shouldn't be the case that anticipated items sell out within an hour, for that's the road to absolute madness in an age where internet shopping is 24 hours a day. So, Nintendo's struggled to deliver stock, but in turn that's brought out opportunists that buy up inventory and flog it on eBay at a profit; a less polite term is to call them scalpers.
Having heard that the problem was rife with the Majora's Mask New Nintendo 3DS XL in the US, particularly, we headed to eBay. A fairly generic search of "Majora's Mask 3DS" returned hundreds of results; there are actually hundreds of these systems' pre-orders for sale, and also some of the limited edition software bundles. We're not even talking about the systems themselves - as they're not out until 13th February - but pre-orders. In essence, these sellers are flogging goods they don't even own yet, especially if retailers have pre-order stock that falls through.
It's crazy, with the majority of entries selling comfortably above the recommended price of $199.99. Many are selling for around $300, some are asking for as much as $500, netting tidy profits in the process.
Some may say "that's capitalism", or an "entrepreneurial spirit"; for me - breaking into first-person as this irritates me so much - it's selfish, greedy cynicism. Products designed - by their very concept of being special editions - for dedicated fans are snapped up by many with no interest in them, all in the name of charging those that are desperate. Nintendo gets its cut of the retail sales, but these private sales are a Wild West and are all about exploiting fans for personal gain.
Nintendo is powerless to stop this, though it has contributed to the increasing trend of opportunistic eBay sales by woefully understocking some of its most desired products. It will continue, but that doesn't mean we need to like it.
Let us know what you think of this, and the perception that this is happening more and more with highly desired but rare Nintendo games, systems and accessories.