Nintendo’s $60 NES Classic Edition console is adorable, affordable, and a genuinely great gift this holiday season. There’s only one problem: It’s nearly impossible to find.
That’s understandable: It’s just $60, it’s got 30 classic NES games (from “Super Mario Bros.” to “The Legend of Zelda”, and more), and it’s a near-perfect replica of the first ever Nintendo game system (the Nintendo Entertainment System, or “NES). This thing is a no-brainer purchase for people who grew up with Nintendo, for kids who never experienced it, or anyone who likes sweet gadgets.
Just look at it!
Nintendo promised a “steady flow” of new systems “through the holiday shopping season and into the new year” back in mid-November when the console launched. A company representative offered the same quote to Business Insider on Friday afternoon when we asked about the re-stocking effort.
GameStop is, by far, the largest brick-and-mortar game retailer in the world, with over 6,000 stores. It’s one of the primary stores selling the NES Classic Edition, alongside Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target. From calls we made to over a dozen GameStop locations across the United States — from Connecticut to Texas, Minnesota to California — units are trickling out in some regions, and not arriving at all in others.
One Brooklyn area GameStop picked up the phone by saying, “Thank you for calling GameStop. Sorry, we don’t have the NES Classic Edition. How can I help you?”
Similarly, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target are all sold out and have been since launch. Re-sellers plague their online storefronts, charging $200 or more for the $60 console.
Of the GameStop stores we called, most had received just two or three units since the initial shipment on November 11. Several associates said their stores received zero units since launch, and every associate we spoke with said they were receiving dozens of calls every day with people looking for the system.
Of the stores that did receive new units, they uniformly said that the units sold out immediately. One GameStop associate even said, “Nintendo’s dropping the ball.” His New York City-area store had received zero replenishment since launch, he said.
Several store associates suggested checking in frequently by phone, and one said they’d been trying their best to tip off customers on upcoming shipments. No one suggested going on eBay, thankfully — systems are selling in the $150 – $200 range:
There is one other option, should you live in or near New York City: the Nintendo Store in Rockefeller Center. The store’s Twitter account has been tweeting out availability.
And even then, at Nintendo’s own store, supplies are limited.
Good luck, shoppers!
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.