It’s recently come out that ThinkGeek.com has announced bundles for the NES Classic Mini, last years most coveted item for the Holidays. While some are surprised and excited that this already discontinued item is available it comes with some caveats.
Gamestop (the parent company to Geeknet, Inc. which runs the website ThinkGeek.com) has set a precedent with bundling games and accessories with Switches. The idea behind this is to reduce the number of Switches on the market being sold by scalpers and offers convenience to their customer base. While on paper this appears to be a good will effort, many people are forced to buy bundles in order to get a Switch. Many have already purchased items in these bundles separately in anticipation of getting a Switch. This leaves customers who have store cash or trade-ins with no options for purchasing a system outside the bundle. There are some stores that will sell the systems outside of a bundle but only when they come in stock.
With ThinkGeek.com announcing their NES Classic Mini bundles, we are now left to believe that Gamestop as a company is withholding stock from stores in hopes to “up the margins” on a system that is believed to be sold out. It’s difficult to know just how many NES Classic Mini’s were available through these bundles, but it’s certain that Gamestop could have sent these out to stores. Making them available to customers without forcing them to buy a bundle that contains items that may have no interest to the consumer.
Unless by some miracle we find out that they have been quietly purchasing NES Classic Minis from online scalpers who have hiked the prices of these $60 time capsules. I think it’s safer to assume that these were shipments that were held back expecting to make a bundle. This begs the question, what is the motivation for Gamestop. On the surface, it seems like a cash grab, and with no comment from Nintendo or Gamestop what is stopping people from believing otherwise.
With the SNES Classic Mini coming in a couple months, and Wal-Mart already causing a fiasco in America by offering pre-orders, it’s hard to trust that GameStop will send their allocation of units to their stores. Personally, I did manage to get an NES Classic Mini. I had to sleep outside a Best Buy in December after hearing rumors that a store 30 miles away was getting 15 units. This was after I had already attempted to pick up a unit from my local Gamestop, Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores. It was in high demand and with no communication other than Best Buy’s twitter account. If you plan on trying to get one of these, don’t support scalpers by purchasing their overpriced listings. Research companies shipping times and keep an eye out on social media for announcements on when stores will get restocked. Use the buddy system if you plan to stay overnight at a store, and bring enough food and water. Make an event of it and bring friends to a store that’s close by, Nintendo fans love chatting about the games they grew up with.