The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition (NA) / Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System (PAL) is out today, which means there's plenty of retro gaming goodness ahead. Many in Europe will have been clinging on to pre-orders for months, with second waves of stock due to arrive later in November or into December. In North America pre-order stock has been extremely low, with just a few chances left - the message there is simple: get to stores early to try and get one.
It's the same old story, unfortunately, of a much-wanted new Nintendo product being rather hard to get. As we saw in the early days of amiibo, scalpers have wasted no time in taking advantage.
eBay UK, serving a country where most orders now promise pre-Christmas delivery but immediate stock is practically non-existent, is filling up with listings. At the time of writing nearly 200 listings are up in the UK, with the price typically between £100-200; its RRP is £49.99, of course. The official Amazon UK page is no better, with multiple 'merchants' selling units at £135 and above.
In North America, where doors are barely opening in stores, it's already begun from those that evidently landed the handful of pre-orders that did arrive earlier in the year. The current 'buy it now' rate on eBay.com is between $200-300.
It's easy, and justified, to shake our heads and condemn scalpers, who buy a product and hawk it on - it's entrepreneurial, some argue, but only in a cynical and lazy way. That said, Nintendo continually makes this happen by failing to meet demand. All companies do it to a degree, but issues of limited stock seem to follow most major Nintendo products, previously with amiibo and now the NES Mini. For a company with declining sales revenues, we'd expect they'd want to sell as many as possible, but early indications are that once again it's not producing enough stock.
To give Nintendo some due, restocks are expected in most territories before Christmas. Some retailers are taking orders on that basis, or have even delayed existing pre-orders promising arrival in December. Whether Nintendo can ensure that everyone can buy one, or appease those once again left frustrated by a lack of stock, is another question entirely.