Strong launch for Switch, but stock must continue to flow, says retail

The Nintendo Switch is finally out in the wild and retailers are reporting an excellent first weekend for the platform holder’s new console despite some stores experiencing delivery issues and low stock levels. Speaking to MCV, execs at UK stores said their stock was quickly diminished during the Switch’s first few days on sale but overall it was a very strong launch.

For HMV’s head of technology and games Phil Browes, the Switch launch was fantastic.” He stated: We satisfied all pre-orders and blasted through the remainder of our initial allocation. Every single one of our pre-order customers received their console on launch day, and we’re optimistic that with some great games due to be released, Switch can establish itself as a successful third console in the market. We’re a bit tight [on stock] but we’re looking forward to more deliveries this week.”

GAME also had a successful launch, with orders contintuing to come in both online and in store. GAME’s COO Guy Lister told MCV:

GAME is the go-to destination for new console launches, and it was no different for the Nintendo Switch. Successful midnight openings across the country drew the in the crowds, with the European President of Nintendo, Mr Shibata, even heading down to our Wardour Street store. Demand for the Switch remains high and we are continuing to take orders in our stores and online, we’re incredibly excited about the opportunities this new console represents."

ShopTo’s head of commercial Alison Fraser was similarly positive about the Switch launch, but said delivery problems dampened what was otherwise a good weekend of sales.

Overall, it was a great success,” she said. I’m afraid we did [have delivery issues] which took the shine off the successful launch as we shipped to all of our customers on Thursday which would have been on time for launch.”

Delivering the console to customers wasn’t a problem for GameSeek’s managing director Stephen Staley, meanwhile, but he did say that stock levels had already hit zero,” so much so that he wasn’t able to sell any more Switches over the weekend, as it simply wasn’t on sale.”

Stock levels are by far the biggest concern for UK retailers going forward, with one manager who wished to remain anonymous stating they hadn’t had any confirmation from Nintendo about when the next batch of consoles would arrive, and might even have to wait until April before their stock is replenished.

We are in communications with Nintendo but there is not a confirmed date as of yet,” they said. With Mario Kart coming in April I would hope there would be more stock before then but that’s not been confirmed.”

Nintendo UK’s general manager Nicolas Wegnez told MCV last month that he expected the Switch to be available to buy at some retailers on Day One, and that further shipments would come through steadily,” but it seems even those carefully laid-plans aren’t quite enough to eliminate stock shortages completely.

As for the best-selling game, all the retailers MCV spoke to were unanimous. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was by far and away the most popular launch title for the Switch on Day One, with Browes saying it’s a must-have for most Switch owners.”

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