Nintendo’s new console, the Switch, is a big hit. Such a big hit, in fact, that it’s stil hard to buy right now – half a year after coming out.
You can’t just walk into your local Target and snag a Switch without some serious luck. And it was even harder back in March when the console launched.
Look no further than the insane, hours-long tale that Business Insider editor-in-chief Alyson Shontell endured to find one. It’s no surprise that many fans were frustrated.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé has a surprisingly different take on the situation.
“We actually sold through almost 2.8 million units, so we dramatically over-delivered,” Fils-Aimé told Mashable in a recent interview. “And yet, demand outpaces supply. So what do some of the consumers on Reddit say? ‘Gosh, Nintendo, if you would’ve made more you would’ve sold more.’ Well, we did make more!”
In a business sense, of course, he’s not wrong. Ahead of the launch of the Switch, analysts intentionally tempered expectations. Despite this, Nintendo “over-delivered” by producing more Switch units than were projected (by analysts) to sell. Even still, Nintendo produced fewer units than were demanded by consumers – thus, customers who wanted to buy the Switch weren’t able to, and some saw this as evidence that Nintendo was intentionally constraining supply.
Of course, if you’re one of the many people who wanted to buy a Switch at or near launch in March – or even now – Fils-Aimé’s answer could come across as needlessly defensive. Seeing Fils-Aimé say that Nintendo “over-delivered” supply of a product that you weren’t able to buy just adds fuel to that frustration.
Nintendo’s no stranger to making products that are highly sought after, yet limited in supply.
The company is re-starting production of its NES Classic Console, for instance, due to overwhelming demand; similarly, the Super NES Classic Edition console is having its production run extended for the same reason.
More than just being limited-edition products, Nintendo did a poor job of communicating with consumers how and when they could buy the Classic Edition consoles. That’s at least in part due to how Nintendo operates. Fils-Aimé characterizes Nintendo as a company that “likes to keep our information very close to the vest.”
Sometimes, that can mean amazing surprises – like the inclusion of never-before-released “Star Fox 2” with the Super NES Classic Edition – and just as often it means consumers are left in the dark.