The Nintendo Switch seems to have captured the imagination of gaming fans everywhere. Since its release in early March, it has been incredibly hard to find. It’s expected that finding the Nintendo Switch in stock is only going to get harder as the spring rolls on.
The replacement for Nintendo’s Wii U, Nintendo Switch mixes the last two generations of the company’s gaming experience into one and throws in some mobile gaming features for good measure. At its core, is a 6.2-inch touchscreen tablet with NVIDIA graphics inside. When docked, it behaves like any other living room console.
The key to the Nintendo Switch’s potential success is that it’s not really a living room gaming console at all. Two controllers, called Joy-Cons, can be attached to either side of the device. Gamers then lift it out of its dock and continue to play their favorite games. Basically, buyers get a decent mobile gaming console and a Nintendo experience for their television set for one $299.99 purchase. There are the games, like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey as well.
Here’s everything that you need to know about finding the Nintendo Switch in stock over the spring and early summer.
How to Find the Nintendo Switch in Stock: Pre-Orders Are Gone
In January, Nintendo first fully revealed the Nintendo Switch, its accessories and how much it would cost. Just two hours later, the company opened up pre-orders to everyone in the console’s launch markets except Japan. Another few hours passed, then all of those Nintendo Switch pre-orders disappeared.
Some retailers were able to allow pre-orders a second time, but not many. Going into release day, Nintendo Switch pre-orders were gone. They still are. How long the Nintendo Switch will remain sold out is anyone’s guess. Nintendo has a somewhat shaky track record with making enough gaming consoles to meet demand.
2016’s launch of the NES Classic renewed fears that Nintendo routinely underestimates how many devices it’s going to sell. The device quickly sold out after launch, and has been hard to find since. On January 16th, video game retailer GameStop added to fears of a complete sell out saying, “GameStop has reserved all of its first allotment of Nintendo Switch systems.” That statement came in a press release shortly before launch.
Since then, all stores have kept quiet about when they might have the Nintendo Switch in stock again. A few offered buyers the option to line-up on release night for a chance at getting a system. They are sold out too.
How to Find the Nintendo Switch in Stock at a Store
On release night, the best way to find the Nintendo Switch in stock was to head to a store and line-up. Retail chains offered a small amount of systems for users that casually walked in off the street. Unfortunately, don’t count on picking up a Nintendo Switch this way in the near future.
Best Buy allows shoppers to purchase things on online and track store inventory. Their website reports that the Nintendo Switch is completely sold out. It offers no option to pick up the console in stores right now, however you can sign up for stock notifications on the console.
Target, which also allows users to order online and check its stores to see if the Nintendo Switch is in stock, says that it’s sold out too. If there’s a store in your area with limited availability, definitely call first to verify it with someone working in electronics.
Wal-Mart is out of Nintendo Switch consoles and many of the console’s related accessories. As with other retailers, be sure to sign up for stock alerts. You’ll know the moment they have more.
Finally, there’s GameStop, which has traditionally offered the best chance of getting newly released gaming consoles. It lists the Nintendo Switch as “Not Available.” The company has a separate page on GameStop.com for learning about the console’s features and signing up for stock notifications. Speaking to Forbes on March 17th, the company confirmed that its stores will have Nintendo Switch systems to purchase by March 22nd. It’s expecting this new allotment of systems to go pretty fast. There’s no required bundle or pre-order. You simply go into your local store to see if the console is available.
How to Find the Nintendo Switch in Stock: Amazon, Craigslist & eBay
Amazon, GameStop, Target and Wal-Mart all began their Nintendo Switch pre-order sales on January 13th, the same morning all was revealed about the console. Wal-Mart was the first to go. Best Buy and Target later joined the fray. By the time Amazon and GameStop were offering pre-orders, it was hard to find the Nintendo Switch in stock at any of the other retailers. Everyone that didn’t have a pre-order yet, flooded those sites.
Amazon will let you register for an email alert that’ll come the moment you can purchase the device again. On launch night the company’s Amazon Prime Now delivery service offered users the opportunity to purchase a Nintendo Switch and have it arrive on their doorsteps hours later. Check both sites for stock, if you can. Prime Now requires an Amazon Prime subscription.
Of course, when any system is broken, people create their own. Lots of enterprising users placed a Nintendo Switch pre-order so that they could resell when it became hard to find the Nintendo Switch in stock. Those people are ready to make deals online.
A quick check of your local Craigslist site should yield a few sellers. Sales there hover between $400 and $1100. To be clear, paying more gets you some of the console’s accessories, which are hard to find themselves. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller has been hard to find since release too. eBay has users offering up their pre-orders to the highest bidder too. There, they’re going for as high as $600.
How to Find the Nintendo Switch in Stock: Tracking Tool
The easiest way to find the Nintendo Switch in stock at any retailer is to use a stock tracking tool called NowInStock. The site links you directly to the listings of a half-dozen retailers. It’s updated multiple times a day too.
Good luck trying to find the Nintendo Switch in stock. You still have plenty of time to find the console before some of its most-anticipated titles have their releases. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available on the Wii U, giving you a way to experience that game while you search for units. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is just a refresh of Mario Kart 8 for Wii U. It won’t be until the Splatoon 2 release that you’re truly missing out on Nintendo exclusives. it’s expected to arrive sometime in the middle of 2017.
Play Games on the Nintendo Switch in the Living Room
When docked, the Nintendo Switch allows anyone to play their video games on a high-definition television. In that way, the device is every bit the replacement for the Nintendo Wii U that we were expecting. Nintendo even describes it as a home entertainment console in its marketing materials.
At first glance, the Nintendo Switch almost looks like a tablet with controller surfaces at the end – sort of like the current Wii U GamePad. Things can change quickly, though.
Nintendo calls the attachments at each end of the device Joy Cons, short for Joy Controller. Each Joy Con has four sets of face buttons, a bumper and a joystick. Gamers can leave the Joy Cons attached to their Nintendo Switch or detach them later on.
In this mode, you can remove the Joy-Con Controllers from the sides of the console and dock them with the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Grip. You can also pick up the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller for this mode and leave your Joy-Cons in place.