For quite a while, the Switch has been very tough to find in Japan, with the few units that were becoming delivered pretty much flying off the shelves, not even close to satisfying demand.
Back in October, I researched the favorite geek neighborhood of Akihabara at Tokyo to reveal precisely how hard it was to find a Switch.
To be able to confirm, I return to Tokyo, and I walked into the busy and colorful streets of Akihabara once more.
My first stop was a timeless, the Yodobashi Camera megastore near the station. When you’ve seen images of long traces of Japanese gamers awaiting the most recent release, it’s probably they were shot here.
After I entered the video game place, I was welcomed by a large sign: the bundles with Super Mario Odyssey along with Splatoon 2 were unavailable, but both grey and neon stand-alone variations were in stock. The signal mentioned that the console is a popular item, and invited customers to ask directly in the cashier.
Beneath the counters, I actually got to see the inventory. There was a large pile of Switch consoles prepared to be sold, because it is possible to see in the fourth film from the gallery over.
I had been successful on the first attempt. When I needed to really purchase a Switch, it would have taken me more than ten minutes after setting foot beyond the station.
That having been said, to evaluate the position of this inventory, I decided to visit more shops. My second stop was the second-biggest store, the recently-rebranded Bic Camera.
Here I found a sign: the situation is slightly different. Only the grey stand-alone version of the Switch has been available, although the neon version was sold-out. Interestingly, that’s not that the only console which wasn’t accessible at the shop. The slender PS4 with 1 TB hard disk and PS4 Guru were sold out too.
Unfortunately, no matter how sneaky I was, I couldn’t find the inventory of console behind the counter, and when the employees started sending me strange looks, I chose to withdraw.
The Switch was accessible both color variants, and that I was able to obtain the stock hidden beneath the counter. You can view it in the second picture. While only one unit is visible, it’s likely the boxes beneath it include more consoles. Interestingly there was a notice mentioning that every customer can only buy 1 console. This is a pretty common measure to keep scalpers in bay.
My fourth stop was that the Sofmap Amusement Store a few hundred meters up Showa Dori.
The Switch was accessible, which was the first place in which that wasn’t advertised like it’s major thing.
All the units I found at the shops were priced at the conventional 29,970 yen (plus taxes) price suggested by Nintendo.
The Trader chain specializes in pre-owned goods.
I discovered several Switch components, priced involving 26,600 and 26,800 yen. The simple fact that the purchase price of pre-owned units has now gone below the proposed price for new types (contrary to what we found in our prior visits) is a very good indication that imports are fulfilling demand, as nobody is desperate enough to buy overpriced pre-owned units.
Before I left Akihabara from the late afternoon, I moved back into Yodobashi Camera, since they had the stock so conveniently displayed.
This trip was approximately three hours after the very first, and since you can see, the console wasn’t flying off the shelves, even while still selling steadily. Approximately one layer of this heap was offered during my absence.
After leaving Akihabara, I decided to have a look at a completely different place and went to explore the Yodobashi Camera shop in Shinjuku.
The two colours of this console were available, together with the restriction of one purchase per client. The stock was hidden behind the counter with a few units visible, and more presumably from the cardboard boxes under them.
My exploration pretty much proved that the Switch was very simple to locate all over Akihabara, and everywhere in Tokyo. That said, the analysis was finished, as I couldn’t yet ascertain whether this was only a recent dispatch that would immediately run out of steam, or so the situation has been stable.
I went to all the shops mentioned previously on two subsequent days (yesterday and again today, to be exact), and the problem remained unchanged. The Switch was accessible at all them for the whole time.
Below you can see the convenient pile at Yodobashi on the second and next day. One layer has been eliminated from Wednesday to Thursday, and even more on Friday. That being said, the console isn’t anyplace close to selling out in the present time.
Lately, a hand-written signal looked today, advising customers that reservations are available to your Splatoon 2 package, which will be sent by Nintendo on March 17th.
In my evaluation, we can draw a rather simple decision: while the Nintendo Switch is currently promoting very steadily, shipments appear to get normalized, and Nintendo appears to be able to meet with the demand from customers.
We recently discovered the Switch marketed 3,800,000 units in Japan during its first year on the shelves. At least for the moment, it seems to be smooth sailing for Nintendo’s latest console.