Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime assured gamers in a recent interview that they won’t experience a limited availability of the new Nintendo Switch console when it arrives this March. In fact, the company has already stated that 2 million units will ship worldwide during the first month the console will be on the market. However, he knows that customers have concerns about availability after the whole NES Classic Edition rollout that took place in November.
“I read the boards and I read the comments, that there is concern about supply,” he said. “From what I’ve read, the concern seems to stem from the lack of ability to buy NES Classic.”
The NES Classic Edition console hit the market on November 10in Japan and Australia, followed by the United States, the Philippines, and Europe a day later, and on November 23 in Russia. Here in the States, the console sold out immediately online and offline, with gamers lining up outside doors long before stores opened. After that, the console was in limited supply throughout the holidays, pushing customers and retailers alike to wonder if Nintendo limited the console’s availability to increase demand.
Of course, the limited NES Classic Edition supply may have had something to do with Nintendo cranking out 2 million Switch consoles to distribute throughout its first month on the market. However, according to Fils-Aime, Nintendo simply didn’t expect such a high demand for a “remake” of its original console packed with 30 built-in games and that is why there was a shortage.
“The good news, at least for consumers in the Americas, is we’re going to continue to make the NES Classic available,” he said. “With the ongoing level of supply, the ongoing demand is going to be met. We know the concern.”
The Nintendo of America president believes that 2 million is a big number and should be enough for customers to purchase a Nintendo Switch during the first three weeks of March. It’s a big number given the launch window isn’t during the peak holiday season. But on a global scale, 2 million doesn’t seem to be that big of a number. Even more, does that number include all the pre-purchased units?
“Our focus is making sure that the consumer who wants to buy a Nintendo Switch can buy a Nintendo Switch,” he said. “That’s how we build our supply chain, that’s how we think through the amount of product that’s available.”
The original Wii console did exceptionally well in its early days due to the introduction of its innovative motion-sensing technology. But hardcore gamers and publishers didn’t take the bait, hence the console seemingly targeted general customers of all ages. Nintendo tried to reach the hearts of its hardcore base with the following Wii U console, which introduced a tablet-based controller. That didn’t catch on either, so now Nintendo is back with a portable console that seemingly makes the 3DS handheld unnecessary.
Unfortunately, Nintendo’s investors aren’t thrilled with the upcoming console, as the company’s shares fell 5.8 percent to 23,750 yen ($208) on Friday after the Nintendo Switch presentation in Tokyo. Based on the overall reaction to the previous two Wii-labeled consoles, their concerns are legitimate, given how Microsoft and Sony have taken over the console market with the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Pro.
But what about the handheld market? The Nintendo Switch is both a TV-leashed console and a handheld unit, seemingly blurring the line between the two markets. Will Nintendo essentially nuke the handheld gaming sector with its upcoming hybrid console? No, Fils-Aime reassures gamers.
“In our view, the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch are going to live side by side,” he said. “They’re going to coexist just fine. We’ve done this before, managing two different systems. I think there’s a sense that Nintendo Switch is a portable device. It is portable. But at its heart, it’s a home console that you can take with you on the go.”
In other words, don’t trade in that 3DS just yet.