Nintendo to crack down on early selling

Platform holder vows to ensure release dates are correctly observed across Europe

Retailers across Europe face the possibility of receiving their Nintendo stock a lot later in the future.

Games Industry reports that retailers will in future be receiving their games far closer to the official launch date than they have previously. The platform holder merely confirmed that “it is 'consistently reviewing its shopping schedule' to ensure release dates across Europe are not broken”.

Receiving stock shortly before a game’s release presents an increased logistical challenge, and also means some retailers will face higher postage costs, as they will have to post via next day to ensure that customers receive the product on the day of release.

For smaller retailers, however, the loss of potential early sales could be crippling.

Early selling is exactly how it sounds – selling games to a buyer prior to their sanctioned day of release. Officially it is a practise that is frowned upon. Unofficially, for many indie retailers it is their bread and butter, and the main reason why many people buy from them instead of from cheaper High Street or online outlets.

Indeed, in days gone by it was reasonably common for the big High Street retailers to push out a game a day or two early “by mistake”, every now and then, to gain some headlines and a sales advantage. And there are of course countless example of checkout assistants unknowingly selling games found stashed under the counter ahead of their official release, too.

Those days may be behind us, but plenty of websites attract a decent buyer base due to their propensity to ship games out anything up to a week early. The justification is often that posting early is required to account for potential delivery hiccups that could leave a customer without their game on launch day.

The recent release of Super Mario Odyssey appears to have proved a tipping point, however, with lots of gamers proudly waving their early copies around on social media.