There's a new open-source tool on the block and it's said to be at least "partly" responsible for the current Nintendo Switch shortages in North America at the moment. What it does is automatically notify users when a Switch becomes available online at specific retailers in the US (such as Best Buy and Walmart) and then completes the checkout process.
While tools like it aren't necessarily new, this one was designed to target Nintendo Switch stock online and is a completely free download – meaning anyone can source the consoles.
As Nintendo struggles to restock units within the US, there are groups online that are apparently exploiting the current demand for the systems with this tool, and then selling them for upwards of $500 USD. The Animal Crossing themed bundle in recent times has reportedly sold for more than $750 USD.
According to the source, Motherboard (a VICE outlet), users are sharing tips and "explicitly stating their intention to resell" Nintendo's hybrid systems. Some users have even secured bulk Switch orders and shared images of them in a Discord channel.
While Walmart and Best Buy didn't say how they planned to combat this new tool, the creator of it – simply known as 'Nate' – said it was designed as a joke, and then "quickly realized just how powerful" it was:
I decided to make it as a joke, but I quickly realized just how powerful it could be. Me and my friends were talking about reselling Nintendo Switches, and at one point my friend, nicknamed Bird, told me I should make a bot. And here we are today.
Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, demand for the Nintendo Switch and games like Ring Fit Adventure have rapidly increased in price around the world. Apart from consumer demand, there have been stock shortages due to factory closures, and there are also resellers located in particular parts of the world buying out stock in other countries.
Nintendo released a statement earlier this week apologising for the global shortages and have promised more stock will be available soon.