The Nintendo Switch is in short supply all over the world right now, but in Nintendo's homeland, the stock situation is especially dire, with stores regularly holding lottery-style systems in order to fairly distribute the tiny number of consoles they have.
As a result, we've seen scalpers step in, buying up stock at the retail price only to sell it for a much higher fee to someone else. Things have gotten so bad in Japan that one store decided that it would take action by buying stock and selling it at a loss to deliver a blow to those looking to profit out of the situation.
A salesperson representing the store appeared in Tokyo’s famous Akihabara district with a cart loaded up with new Switch systems. The price? 45,000 yen each, which the store claimed was "loss", based on what had been paid to buy the consoles in the first place. The plan was apparently to "smash expensive resellers", according to another tweet by the store which has since been deleted. It's worth noting that the retail price is 29,980 yen plus 10% consumption tax.
20 units were apparently sold from the cart, but the police soon took notice of the seller's activities and images appeared online of her cart being surrounded; the store later claimed on its social media that the salesperson was left in tears. It's not clear if she was forced to stop selling, or if any action was taken at all, but the reaction on Japanese social media has been pretty negative.
Some have questioned how buying from scalpers thereby destroys them, as they're still ultimately profiting. Others have also stated that the seller should have sold the systems at the normal retail price if she wanted to restore some balance to the market. Others have speculated that the store in question might actually have purchased the Switches for 24,000 yen, and is therefore just as bad as the scalpers.
It's a pretty strange series of events, but not entirely unusual when you're dealing with an item that's in high demand and the supply chain is under pressure.
What would Switch sales numbers be like in Japan right now if there were no stock issues? They’ve been strangled for months now. And not for the first time.
I'm surprised that people would even go so far as to buy a gaming system, regardless of high demand or shortages, at insane prices like this. Surely, people could invest their money into other things (or other game devices) until all of this boils down, this just looks like complete madness.
I guess Japanese people really gotta have that Animal Crossing.
@Krull We will likely find out once stock shortages disappear. Once people are adamant on buying a system or game, it's really tough for them to give up, especially given these circumstances. Humans are very stubborn creatures.
Once the virus situation dies down I doubt everyone who wanted a Switch will just fold their arms and say "oh well, I don't want it anymore".
Not just Japan, the Switch as been tough to get in the U.K before Christmas time, betting it's pretty much the same everywhere.
@Collette Honestly I'm expecting Sony and MS to delay the Ps5/Xbox if things don't get back in order come winter
@Collette Sony and Microsoft are just as affected by this. I think they would have already fully revealed their systems by now if not for the situation.
Production of most systems is outsourced to China. Not only that, but shipping products to multiple countries and retailers will, on its own, prove very difficult with the moderation of international flights. I work in a company where production has slowed down by a large degree because of this, and I work in Australia, not China.
Get the impression Nintendo fans like to pay more than the going rate anyway. Capcom certainly agrees.
I'm surprised they were able to sell them from a cart. Certain things like pricey electronics I wouldn't trust from a market seller as I'd want a receipt and a sense of it being a legit purchase.
I'm getting Street Fighter II Switch flashbacks
I'm disappointed in NintendoLife's choice of title here. Very misleading. Calling it a "Japanese scheme" makes it sound like something being done by many Japanese people or the government of Japan, and calling it a scheme makes it sound like obviously dirty.
And it does very much sound dirty by a store clearly wanting a cut of the scalping profits and even willing to claim the sales person was crying. But it was clearly being done by at most, a small group of dishonest and greedy people.
And dishonest and greedy people are a cultural heritage shared by all of humanity.
Time to become retro gamers. That’s what happened to me in the Wii U years
I can sort of see the logic, "who will buy from extortionate scalpers, when someone is selling much lower than them?"
What it accomplishes is scalpers make 20 sales instead of 40, if someone buys 20 overpriced units and sells them off underpriced.
But it won't stop scalpers from scalping, does Japan have any sort of laws against such practices?
While here in Australia, Switch are plenty... so guys... who needs a switch?
@Collette they'll be delaying their systems for sure.
They won't announce that just yet as it would effect their stock prices and send investors into a tailspin.
But it's not like they have magic factories on the moon that are open and able to make them consoles.
@Heavyarms55 I still remember a few months back you calling me racist for calling Japan’s desire to keep the Olympics greedy. Now you’re taking offense at this articles title yet claim exactly what I said, greed is a human thing. Interesting.
Anyone remember when GameStop combated the scalpers when they had gotten a sudden influx of mysteriously pristine "used" copies of Xenoblade Chronicles and Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii, and was letting them go for ONLY about $90 and $85, or then about half the average resale marketup?
(not to mentioned that it seemed those "used" copies of MPT were a normal package which didn't previously exist? )
(although I guess to try to be fair, I guess we can't be certain Nintendo wasn't charging GS more if it was a particularly on-demand special print run)
I am super grateful to have gotten one back in 2017.
For all the scalpers out there, if you have the money to buy like 20 Switches... just invest that money into the stock market or something. If you’re smart about it you’ll probably make more money than you will off these Switches right now and you won’t be screwing anyone over.
@KingMike To combat the scalpers, GameStop BECAME the scalpers lol
I keep saying this in all these similar threads, but the situation in US is getting worse hourly / daily. Out of morbid curiosity I am always watching amazon reseller prices and eBay auction close prices. Inflation rate over the last 3 weeks driving average sale price of a new ver 2 switch from the low $400’s to $500+ shipped. Don’t know where the ceiling is, but I would not be shocked to see 3rd party resellers moving $600-$700 switches by end of summer and god knows how much pre-holidays especially if there’s another dip in production levels as forecasted by Nintendo. It’s pretty gross. Not sure what the solution is, but I feel bad for gamers that want a switch or who have a switch that breaks.
Gosh.. People are so stupid... I get that this person/retailer had a failed attempt at this, but is it necessary to bash them for that?!
Human greed is ending us and this is just one of the many consequences to come.
I wonder... are people actually desperately spending half a thousand dollars just to buy a Switch? Are these scumbag scalpers actually profiting from their outrageous and unreasonable prices? And the sad thing is that the answer is yes... is hard to believe but there really are people willing to buy a 650+ dollar Nintendo Switch on eBay, but then again, lots of wealthy (or rich) people waste their money on far more stupid or worst things so it isn't completely surprising.
@Heavyarms55 ok karen
@mother_brain_85 Who is Karen?
Do I understand this correctly? They thought they could stop scalpers by (legitimately) selling the thing being scalped at a cheaper price, which would allow scalpers to turn an even bigger profit. Do I have that right?
@Snow-Dust No problems here in China. I can easily find it on the streets, and if I buy online, they deliver in 2 days. the japanese version.
There's always weird scenes in Akihabara.
I'm a little unclear here. Was someone buying from scalpers and selling at a discount from a cart or trying to sell expensive switches from a cart? If it's the former this person is just restocking scalpers.
Even just calling it 'a store' kinda makes them sound bigger than they are, it seems it's actually random roaming carts that only started about 3 weeks ago, selling boxes of face masks for 2000 yen. (These too were supposedly 'at a loss')
To actually buy from them they wanted people to follow them on social networking and post about their #SellingSwitchesAtALoss.
But yeah, a games console really doesn't seem like something to buy from a random cart.
Seems they've posted their side of the story on twitter, which is basically:
What's the issue?
They bought an item and are reselling it. If you don't like the price don't buy it. More will be made.
Scalping tickets to a show sucks, since they aren't making new ones everyday. This might be your only chance to see a band or play.
I don't see the issue here.
@Gamehendge That's not inflation.
Inflation is due to the value of money going down. This is not that.
@Northwind That's actually very useful to know, thank you.
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