One of the unfortunate aspects of game releases that we’ve had to deal with in the last few months has been shortages, especially with Nintendo titles. The Wii U has only been available since November, but since that time I can think of three separate incidents where supply shortages of games caused a negative attitude toward Nintendo.
The first that happened was admittedly not with a Wii U game, but with the 3DS game Fire Emblem: Awakening. Nearly everyone I talked to both on the internet and among my friends who were looking for the title, couldn’t find a physical copy. GameStop was sold out and even the Walmart in my small hometown didn’t have any copies. Ultimately, I ended up buying the game on the 3DS eShop because I didn’t want to wait to play it anymore.
As the release date for Lego City: Undercover rolled around, GameStop and Amazon both listed the release date as three days after the March 18th release date, to March 21st. We told you guys this probably meant there would be a shortage, and sure enough when release date rolled around, consumers were having a hard time finding copies in stores. That seems to be somewhat rectified now, but European customers are currently going through their own crises.
Scribblenauts Unlimited was due to be released in the region back in February, but the release date for it came and went with no word from Nintendo or Warner Bros. After repeated attempts to contact both companies, customers finally got word that the Scribblenauts release was delayed at the last minute because the English hadn’t been updated for European regions. That game has still yet to be released in Europe and may not be, according to some rumors.
Now European consumers are again faced with shortages when trying to get their hands on copies of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. The game was sold in bundles in Europe for those who wanted to get their hands on the Wii U for the first time, as well as some retailers offering a deal on both the Wii U and the 3DS versions together. Unfortunately, it seems most consumers have been unable to find copies anywhere, as several reports here in the comments and on our Facebook page tell us European customers are out of luck.
So what is this doing for Nintendo’s image? For the die-hard fan, absolutely nothing. It means that sales are up and that’s something that anyone who supports a company should be happy to see. But for the casual consumer who just saw a commercial for a game on TV and wants to check it out, it means frustration and ultimately disappointment. This is ultimately bad for business when Nintendo wants to expand their marketshare and attract new people who may not have considered a Nintendo console previously.
So what can be done about it? It’s hard to say right now, but it’s something Nintendo is going to have to get under control before heavy-hitters like Super Smash Bros., the new Legend of Zelda game, and the rumored Mario 3D game are released. Customers who want those games and who are unable to find them will not be as forgiving as die-hard Nintendo fans.
What do you think Nintendo can do to stop shortage situations like this from happening again? Let us know in the comments.