Nintendo’s Switch has been tearing up sales charts all year, handily outselling the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in multiple months, and generally establishing itself as the must-have console for the holiday season of 2017. According to Nintendo, the console just blew through the 10 million mark in its first nine months. For comparison, the Wii U sold just 13.56 million units over its entire lifetime.
With the holiday season underway, the Switch (See it on Amazon) is bidding fair to set a historical record, even compared with other, extremely popular consoles. The Wii and PS4 moved more consoles in absolute terms at the 10.5-month mark, but the Switch has only been available for nine months. With the critical holiday period before us, it could wind up hitting equivalent numbers, if not exceeding them. The answer to the question “Will low game availability hurt the Switch” is “definitely not.”
Of course, the fact that you can actually buy one hurts nothing. The Switch is listed as being for-sale at multiple outlets according to NowInStock.net, and while many of these deals are bundles, they run the gamut from $ 299 to $ 359. The Super Nintendo Classic, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found.
If you’re having trouble finding gifts — like the aforementioned SNES Classic — there’s some evidence that shopping bots are to blame. Nicknamed “Grinch bots” by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, both Consumer Reports and the New York Times have reported on how bots are running wild through online store listings, buying up thousands of various products the very instant they become available online.
According to Omri Iluz, founder and CEO of an anti-bot company, these bots poll sites hundreds of times per second, scrape sites to find URLs before sales pages have even gone live, and use banks of up to 10,000 URLs and 500 credit cards to bypass retailer purchase limits. Retailers are trying to spin this as a reason to report to holiday sales in person (far from the worst idea we’ve ever heard), though most buyers want to know that a product is in-stock before driving to a store, and it’s not clear this presents a better alternative. If the store simultaneously sells product online, you could still end up traveling 20 minutes for products that are no longer available.
Of course, you can always buy gifts like this on eBay for two to three times the regular price. Still, with Switches actually in stock, it’s good news for Nintendo fans that want one — provided you don’t want the other console the company promised to have on store shelves come Christmas.