For a long time, the Switch has been really tough to find in Japan, together with the few units that were getting delivered pretty much flying off the shelves, perhaps not even near to satisfying demand.
Back in October, I explored the popular geek community of Akihabara in Tokyo to reveal precisely how hard it was to obtain a Switch. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t find any specimen of this console which wasn’t pre-owned or hugely overpriced.
Now a year has passed out of the launch of Nintendo’s powerful console, has the situation changed? So as to confirm, I came back to Tokyo, and I walked the active and vibrant streets of Akihabara once again.
In case you’ve seen images of traces of Japanese gamers awaiting the most recent release, it’s probably they have been shot here.
As soon as I entered the video game place, I had been welcomed by a large sign: the bundles together with Super Mario Odyssey along with Splatoon 2 were unavailable, but both grey and neon standalone versions were in inventory. The sign mentioned the console is a favorite thing, and encouraged customers to ask directly in the cashier.
Behind the counters, I actually got to find the inventory. There was a large pile of Switch consoles ready to be marketed, because it is possible to see in the fourth film from the gallery above.
I had been successful on the initial attempt. When I needed to really get a Switch, it might have taken me more than ten minutes after setting foot beyond this channel.
That having been said, to assess the situation of the stock, I chose to visit more stores.
Here I found a sign: that the situation is slightly different. Only the grey standalone version of the Switch was available, although the neon version was sold-out. Interestingly, that’s not that the only console that was not accessible at the store. The slender PS4 using 1 TB hard disk and PS4 Pro were both sold out too.
Unfortunately, no matter how sneaky I had been, I couldn’t find the inventory of console behind the counter, and once the employees began sending me strange looks, I chose to draw.
The next stop was that the Sofmap shop on the other side of Showa Dori in Bic Camera.
The Switch was accessible both color variants, and I managed to come across the stock hidden behind the counter. You can view it in the next picture. While just one unit is observable, it’s probably the boxes beneath it include more consoles. Interestingly there was a notice mentioning that each customer can only buy 1 console. This is a fairly standard measure to maintain scalpers in bay.
My fourth stop was that the Sofmap Amusement Store several hundred meters up Showa Dori.
The Switch was available, and this was the first place where wasn’t advertised like it’s huge deal.
Each of the units I discovered at the stores above were priced at the conventional 29,970 yen (plus taxes) cost indicated by Nintendo. There was no price gouging at all (where you see the cost listed at 32,378 yen, which’s because it includes taxation).
The Trader chain specializes in products.
I discovered several Switch components, priced involving 26,600 along with 26,800 yen. The simple fact that the cost of pre-owned components has gone below the proposed price for brand new ones (contrary to that which we found in our previous visits) is a very solid indication that shipments are fulfilling demand, as no one is desperate enough to purchase overpriced pre-owned components.
Before I abandoned Akihabara from the late day, I went back into Yodobashi Camera, since they had the inventory so conveniently displayed.
This trip was approximately three hours following the very first, and as you may see, the console wasn’t flying off the shelves, even while still selling steadily. About one layer of this pile was sold during my absence.
After leaving Akihabara, I decided to take a look at a completely different place and went to research the Yodobashi Camera store in Shinjuku.
The two colors of this console were available, together with the limitation of a single purchase per client. The stock was once more hidden beneath the counter with a few units observable, and much more presumably in the cardboard boxes under them.
My quest pretty much demonstrated that the Switch was quite simple to get all over Akihabara, and elsewhere in Tokyo. That having been said, the analysis was finished, as I could not yet determine whether this was only a recent dispatch that could quickly run out of steam, or so the situation has been stable enough.
I went to all of the shops mentioned above on two following days (yesterday and again now, to be exact), and also the problem remained unchanged. The Switch has been accessible at all of them to the entire time.
Below you may see the convenient heap at Yodobashi about the second and third moment. One layer was gone from Wednesday to Thursday, and much on Friday. That said, the console isn’t anywhere near selling out in the present time.
Interestingly, a hand-written sign looked now, advising clients that bookings are open for the Splatoon 2 bundle, which is delivered by Nintendo on March 17th.
In my evaluation, we could draw a rather simple conclusion: although the Nintendo Switch is currently selling very steadily, imports seem to have normalized, and Nintendo seems to be able to meet up with the demand from clients.
We recently discovered that the Switch marketed over 3,800,000 units in Japan during its first season on the shelves. At least for the moment, it appears to be smooth sailing for Nintendo’s latest console.