25

Editorial: It shouldn’t be this hard to buy a Mini NES in Australia

by Daniel VuckovicNovember 10, 2016

The entire experience around buying the NES Classic Mini in Australia has been a total stuff up nearly every way you look at it.

Since it was revealed it’s been a complete mess to even try and buy one of these things. “Why not just preorder,” you say “and avoid all this undue stress?” The reason is threefold – firstly, no one should have to preorder a system blind. At the point when preorders went live we knew nothing about how the console worked, if it had any visual modes or how the emulation would be. If people bought one and it ended up with the same craptacular emulation the Wii U has? Not happy.

Secondly, not everyone can afford to drop potentially full amount in one go, I’ve seen numerous tweets and Facebook messages with this reasoning.

The third, and perhaps the most important reason, is that it’s been a mess to actually get a preorder in or buy one on release. EB Games’ website crashed twice because of it – at one point they gave up and said ‘come back another day’. JB Hi-Fi had preorders at some point, and other retailers like Big W and Target – well that’s where the fun really begins. Big W’s site this morning crashed and their stores had limited stock. At the time of writing the Big W site was still down.

Target however, at least had a line system at some stores and it seems most people got theirs this way. However, let me tell you about my experience this morning: 7am I arrived at the shops (an hour before they open) and there’s three guys at the door. We chat and banter and just before 8am when the centre opens there’s at least 20 of us – the centre opens and everyone gets smashed through the doors and stampedes to Target.Well most of us, I’m not running to the store entry – surely Target will have a line just like I’ve seen on Twitter all morning.

Nope! People who were in line before me don’t get there first. Mums who are lining up for their kids, Grandparents who have been roped in – all miss out. So the next hurdle – the Target doors slowly roll up, people throw themselves under it and run to the back of the store. The manager clearly doesn’t care as three or more of her staff buy the system and controllers in front of everyone. The PA exclaims ‘we only have 10 in stock’, they’re lying they had more – but the staff bought a chunk of them. The manager who clearly hasn’t followed directives from head office claims its ‘first come first serve’ and people who had been waiting, the slower people, the ones who can’t throw themselves under a door or push old people out of the way – they don’t get theirs. This is the type of system that Target allow to happen, that Nintendo allow to happen because they continually, either deliberately or through poor decisions, under-order everything.

The way this product has been managed doesn’t promote a fair or equal opportunity for people to have the chance to purchase a product with mass appeal. This is completely different to pre ordering a ‘limited edition’ cheap plastic toy for a niche market. The Mini NES represents a major part of Nintendo’s history and its fans’ lives.

The way this product has been managed doesn’t promote a fair or equal opportunity for people to have the chance to purchase a product with mass appeal. This is completely different to pre ordering a ‘limited edition’ cheap plastic toy for a niche market. The Mini NES represents a major part of Nintendo’s history and its fans’ lives.

This isn’t a story just about my experience, but it’s at the point where I’ve had enough – fans have had enough and have been telling me their stories and something has to be said. That’s why I lined up this morning, because if I line up and get screwed over just like regular joe public then least I know that’s how it is for the general punter.

Less than a decade ago Nintendo were sitting pretty with the Wii, now after the failure of the Wii U their back is against the wall and people buying their products right now are the dedicated fans who stick around during the tough times. It’s these fans that they’re treating this way. Whatever needs to be done to sort this out needs to be done at a higher level: more analysis on stock anticipation and allocation…  I don’t know the answer,  that’s not my job.

My job is to be the voice of the people – we’re not happy Nintendo, sort it out or risk losing your fans.

What's your reaction?
Awesome
57%
Oh wow!
12%
Great
4%
Fresh
0%
Hmm
4%
Disappointing!
2%
Grrrr
22%
About The Author
Daniel Vuckovic
The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all.Please understand.
25 Comments
  • November 10, 2016 at 10:23 am

    What’s my reaction?
    Awesome editorial. GRRRR Nintendo/retailers.

  • Anthony
    November 10, 2016 at 10:35 am

    “we’re not happy Nintendo, sort it out or risk losing your fans”
    Because the online stores of EBGames, JB Hi-Fi and Big W were down? Because Target only had 10?

    “firstly, no one should have to preorder a system blind”
    It’s a NES game player, we know what games it had.

    Nintendo will not lose “fans” over a retro game player.

  • Antiginger
    November 10, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I always find it fascinating that we have gotten to this point where we have to react with furious outrage over something like “Nintendo underestimated demand for this thing they just made and now we have to wait a few weeks for them to make some more”. The spirit of good will in mainstream gaming media is no longer something that gets attention and its this festering culture of hatred that I believe contributed to Iwata’s premature demise. These articles however are not the core problem because they are tailored to suit what we the readers want.

  • bernietoast
    November 10, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Excellent Editorial.

    I think the big question here is;
    Did Nintendo/Retailers not adequately predict the demand for this product?
    Or
    Did they realise the demand but were simply unable to meet it due to supply constraints?
    Either way I hope they are able to sort it out.

    • Dami
      November 11, 2016 at 4:00 am

      they had 5 months to sort it out, they knew through pre-ordering that there was plenty of demand.
      they apologised profusely about the amiibo debacle which now means very little.
      this is the only thing they have going into christmas, they NEED to get this to as many people as possible to capitilise on the nostalgia boat while it is still at the dock. the attention will wane for this product much quicker than a normal console, it is simply woeful business decisions.

  • John
    November 10, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Nintendo treats their customers with contempt with this kind of release schedule.

    They knew there would be more sold after this morning but – and correct me if I’m wrong – only chose to release this information this morning after they’d sold out. That way they increase the fanfare about the product and in the process waste the time of their most loyal customers. It’s a cheap marketing trick which they repeat time and time again. They will not provide info on a third shipment until after the second shipment arrives – again to create the impression of limited stock and get people into the “fear of missing out” mindset.

    • bernietoast
      November 10, 2016 at 11:35 am

      To be fair, Nintendo is not the only company that does this. But yes recently with this and the amiibo fiasco they seem to lean heavily on the scarcity approach as a marketing strategy.

  • MarleH
    November 10, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Sorry to hear about your experience and the many I have read online. But the centre and target are the ones to blame for not enforcing a line. Many stores did the right thing and handed out tickets to people in line and they got theirs first to the number of how many they had. Of course some of the blame goes to the rude bastards that don’t respect anyone else, just smash though the crowd and don’t respect the people that have been waiting for over a hour for the store to open.

    The only way Nintendo can get around this is to do what they did with the Pokémon Go and sell it on their eBay store.

    • KiWiiu_Freek
      November 10, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      I agree 100%with your comment.
      I was one of the lucky ones who prte ordered it through JB because I thought this would happen.
      The timing ( leading into Xmas) and the sheer popularity of the NES sent alarm bells ringing in my head, hence why I had no problem slapping down my hard earned for a pre order.
      Target are notorious for doing a bait n switch, advertise something that they know won’t be available just to get people into their store.
      They’ve done it to me 3 times, I don’t even bother shopping there anymore.
      I’ve gone I to Target to buy a ‘cheap’ game only to be told it has sold out, even though I was the first person through the the doors!
      Who bought it?
      Their staff.
      Totally unprofessional.

    • Australian retail woes
      November 10, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      I had a similar experience when Dick Smith decided to stop selling Nintendo stuff altogether, back when they were offering the Wii U for 50% off. People were crowded around and *just* before they opened the doors the staff inside bought just about everything worth buying. As in they picked up whatever they wanted from the shelves, then placed it all behind the counter – multiple consoles, games, etc. It was easy for those of us outside to see what they were doing through the big glass windows, so the crowd got into a frenzy when they saw that and surged into the store the moment the doors opened.

      It was not the slightest bit safe, enjoyable or worthwhile – in fact I’d say it was my worst shopping experience ever (and I’ve done a *lot* of last-minute Christmas shopping, so that’s saying something). I’ve never bothered with anything similar since. I toyed with the idea of buying a mini NES but concluded that it would probably be similar and decided that I didn’t want it that badly. I can’t say that I’m all that satisfied to note that I was right.

    • November 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Good points. Yeah I’m not one push and shove and had I got to the counter before someone else like a Mum – I probably would have given it to them.

  • Michael
    November 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    To be fair to Nintendo the original pre-orders were available for a decent period. I kept checking online at the time and JB had them for maybe 3-4 days and EB for at least a week. It was also well advertised at the time not only on gaming sites but also on social media and the general media, I think generally most people that really wanted one would have got one back then. From memory pretty much everything said “extremely limited” or similar as well. Also if you pre-order without any info you can always cancel it down the track and get a refund.

    To me the problem has only arisen now because people didn’t think ahead back then, they’ve now decided it will make a great xmas present but everyone else has the same idea. Big W and Target for the most part were pretty terrible, very vague on timing or stock levels or even posting working links to the online pages. It’s not really anything nothing new for big stores like that though, none of the staff on the ground really ever has any info before the morning when the stock arrives.

    Definitely agree with others above though with the Nintendo eBay store, the Pokemon Go release on there seemed to work really well. Most importantly at least the eBay servers would be a bit more hardy. It would also solve the ever-popular complaints of “did you only have three to sell in all of Australia” and “I bet the staff bought them all before the store even opened”.

    • November 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      This Mini NES absolutely hit a point where the masses decided they wanted it. Nintendo fans were first, of course we’re like that but then the mainstream did the whole ‘NES is back!’ and it kind of exploded. After that it was lost.

  • Gamer Down Under
    November 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    My target store had a line and ticket system. everything went super smooth and I had a great experience. Both from Target AND Nintendo. nobody is to blame but people and their desire to put wants before needs. The only thing that sucks is the people who are buying and reselling at $400

  • BellyButtonLint
    November 10, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    You may think it’s your job to “be the voice of the people”, but you do not speak for all fans by any means.
    You sound extremely bitter for someone who relies on handouts from Nintendo to maintain this website. But wait, is that what this is really all about? Did you not get a freebie this time around? Stop acting like a petulant child and looking a gift horse in the mouth. Did you seriously expect to stroll into a store and just be able to purchase one without any hassle? You, of all people, the self-appointed “voice of the people” knew the hype surrounding the NES Mini, the debacle with EB’s pre-ordering etc. etc. and yet here you are having a big old cry like it was some well guarded secret that these things were in huge demand.
    It’s not becoming to post your temper tantrum in a public forum.

    By the way, just to clarify; I missed out on the NES Mini also, I tried my damnedest, but alas it was not to be and I am bitterly disappointed. However, you can bet your ass I will be trying again for shipment 2.

    • November 10, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      Hey man, if we relied on Nintendo for handouts we would be dead. We get review games of course, but eventually, a day before or after release. Reviews make up very little of the traffic and very little of what we do. Our bargain guides, eShop updates, Discord nights and all the news we write are our work – we don’t rely on Nintendo for the majority of what we do.

      And why do you think I was lining up for one? When they first went for preorder I couldn’t afford one, the second time EB’s site crashed and they did it another day. On that day I had meetings and couldn’t buy one. My last resort was to go to a store and pick one up.

      At no point in my article do I say people should have been able to just go and expect one, of course that’s crazy. However there should be some system for those who lined up and a lot of stores failed to do that. People would have missed out but not because they weren’t physically able to squeeze under the door and run to the back of the store on the day. Websites should be able to handle the load on the day, perhaps if Nintendo hadn’t of waited until the morning of launch to say there would be more there would be have been less pandemonium this morning.

      I don’t speak for everyone, but people were telling me to say something, to share their frustration, This article is my opinion and these comments and this site are where you can voice yours. Thank you for doing so.

  • Joe
    November 10, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    The otherside, I know many ppl want them but playing 300+ is the reason why scalpers pick them all up.

    I hope to get one for my collection but I only want my money to go to Nintendo.

  • November 10, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    This is typical Nintendo. They’ve been doing this for 30+ years now. It’s always been their strategy to under-stock stores, with the theory of avoiding market over-saturation. It’s something they picked up after Atari’s demise.

    As for the specific experience you described, I’ve seen that now so many times, not just with Nintendo, or even video games, but basically any big sale items and special limited-stock items. There is a terrible culture within many stores for employees to horde or pre-purchase all/most of the good stuff, and have no respect or care for the customers they’re not only inconveniencing but blatantly lying to.

    I saw it happen most shockingly with Dick Smith (4 years ago now..), and I think it’s one of the things that drove consumer mistrust and sent them out of business. I wouldn’t be surprise if many of the people that went through what you described today refuse to purchase the mini NES from Target at all, on principle alone.

  • Medrad
    November 10, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I’ve read all the comments, read the article, there’s nothing said that I don’t agree/disagree with to some extent. I didn’t manage to get one.

    I’m not angry with Nintendo for any of this. They are struggling in a tight market internationally. Nothing is happening on the WiiU to create excitement, not with the SWITCH coming out. What can they do cheaply and make guaranteed money off? Nostalgia! Mini-NES console is late to the game, you’ve been able to get Mini SEGAs for years. How do you make the most of a marketing product? Fuel the hype, limit numbers, cover costs and then think about spending more on further shipments. It’s a simple marketing strategy that works. Sadly, if we can’t get our hands on one straight away, we’re sad… but we’re prepared to pay for more later right!?

    I’m not angry with Vooks. I couldn’t pre-order one. With word of only 2 suppliers, I’d almost even deliberately NOT pre-order one. I expected more stockists to rear their head, and they did. Target and BigW. This was after JB & EB both “sold out” (which is the only stockists I believe when they say this). It’s my wife’s b’day today, so getting to the store at the crack of dawn was not going to happen. I knew this would be popular, stock was “limited” to 1 per customer. I have been to store openings before (Amiibo rush anyone!?) and watched the hideously rude scalpers run, scoop stock with both arms and laugh at others’ misfortune (literally), then appear at the next store to do the same. It’s these bottom-feeders that ruin the honesty nature of limited sale items. There was also mention of the Dick Smith “staff debacle” that made people gather their torches and pitchforks… staff purchases are now commonplace and really irk me. I talked to my local Target store staff member who so clearly put it to me “Sorry, we were sold out before the store even opened”… I didn’t think much of it, but now that there’s been mention of staff purchasing…

    The biggest disappointment of them all is that with no pre-orders, there are groups of people who deliberately hoard stock together, circumventing the “1 per customer” rule. Within a couple of hours, there are multiple high-price eBay listings for these things. What’s worse is that I recognise names/photos from listing to listing, also in Amiibo days. If only I knew who these people were so a purchasing embargo could be installed.

    So, now, I have to wait until another retailer will start taking pre-orders for the second shipment. No skin off my nose, but the attitude of some people when pursuing these items is disgraceful… shame shame shame… I’m Derryn Hinch (pre-politics).

  • Megalink190
    November 10, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Dam I feel sorry about the experience that you had this morning. For me the experience was different, I chose not to preorder since I had to use gift cards from work.. This ended up costing me the extra controller which I can live without. As for the in line experience, overall pretty good- the target I sent to had 16 units and 1 controller and tickets were handed out as the manager and informed us on the situation. But yeah stock vs demand is a thing that nintendo should really work on. I know it might just be a ploy to gain hype or just supply unable to meet demand since I would imagine that majority of the ones manufactured would be given to the states.

    I do have to give props to the first person in line. She came and lined up at 6 am in the morning well before the manager arrived and she deserved that one controller!

  • Dane
    November 10, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Firstly, good article. As a Nintendo fan (born in 86) and video game enthusiast, I can relate to this.

    You only need to take a look on eBay and Gumtree at the prices people are trying (and some actually getting) on these consoles after being posted up today: $300, $350+. Some local near me on Gumtree has one up for $500!! Are they not just getting slammed with abuse?!?

    Just on the preordering comments mentioned, can I just add from my own personal experience:

    1) I preordered my NES Classic from EBgames online for an initial $10 (was the minimum required preorder deposit for the console)
    2) EBgames allow you to make ongoing payments on your preorder leading up to the release date, making it easier for people to payoff along the way
    3) if you decide you don’t want it anymore leading up to or on the release date, EBgames will refund you the money or offer you the ability to transfer the value onto another preorder or purchase.

    Now this isn’t the case for all preorders, for example, JBHIFI you have to pay the full balance upfront to preorder and I don’t know if they would be so kind to refund you the money back if you said “no thanks”, more like “store credit for you then”.
    I find when preordering from EBgames you are best to deposit the minimum balance and considering it buying an ‘Option’ to have them hold one aside for you. If you decide you don’t want it, tell them and get your money back, they’ll sell it to the next person.

  • Phantom Ganon
    November 11, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I think the issue here is Nintendo is in safe, holding mode at the moment. The Wii U has really scared them and I think this is why the whole world seems to be completely under-supplied with these mini-NESes. I think they’re biding time until Switch and until then just making safe conservative business decisions which has resulted in low production of Mini NES.

    I also think Nintendo actually still don’t understand the power the NES has (or the power the Wii had for that matter) and so didn’t think people would be ridiculously interested, I’m actually convinced they don’t understand their business as well as they think they do. Not to put it all on them, video games is a difficult business.

    I think this happened because Nintendo don’t want to be taking risks at the moment with the Switch on the way. They wanted this thing to sell through and now that they realise there is demand, they’ll try and meet it.

  • Leirith
    November 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Are you able to reach out to Nintendo Australia for comment on this matter?

  • Oliver Winfree
    November 12, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Great article Vooks, I feel your frustration and this is from a die hard Nintendo Fan who got the mini NES from a EB Games preorder. Hope the 2nd shipments will ease the pain.

Leave a Response