I was hoping I’d be able to wax a little poetic today about the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild… buuuut that’s not going to happen, and I don’t know when in the future it’s going to take place. If social media is any indicator (it isn’t always but seems legit this time) than it would appear that large swaths of Nintendo fans have had their Switch launch day fun ruined by online mega-retailer and “didn’t you guys used to just sell books?” superstore Amazon.com. As much as it pains me to report this… I am one of those fans.
So what’s happening?
According to numerous news outlets, including Kotaku and Forbes, a large and growing number of people who pre-ordered their Switch on Amazon, many in early to mid January, have seen their shipment trackers progress to “preparing to ship,” and then just stop there. As 6pm approaches on the East Coast, Amazon’s promise to deliver the Switch to these customers by 8pm seems more or less a pipe dream, and to add insult to injury, over the course of March 3rd (a.k.a. Switch launch day) Amazon has sporadically released more consoles for sale, and Amazon Prime Now participants who ordered a Switch on launch day and got it later on launch day are receiving units over those who’ve had the Switch pre-ordered since the instant those went live…including moi. Calls to customer service have not solved the dilemma, and in many cases credits are being offered as a balm of sorts, but that’s hardly the point. The point is that day one Switch delivery was “guaranteed” for customers, and that “guarantee” is worth the paper it wasn’t printed on because Amazon’s entirely digital.
But what went wrong?
This is the biggest part of the problem; Amazon’s not saying what happened and their customer service reps have been more or less left on their own to try and appease throngs of angry Nintendo fans.
(Okay, no, that is NOT a very threatening thought. I admit that.)
The rumor that seems to be taking hold is that many, not all but many, of Amazon’s U.S. distribution centers are STILL waiting for their own copies of the Switch to arrive, and can’t very well ship product they don’t have themselves out to pre-ordering costumes. Is that the actual reason? Hard to say; Amazon’s not saying a word, and it’s a silence that only grows more and more deafening with every new customer inquiry.
Yes, yes, of course; in the grand scheme of things this is but a pittance. It is, perhaps, the very definition of the term “First World Problems”. I’ve chatted with customer service, they’ve assured me my Switch will be arriving on Monday (we’ll see), and given me a credit for my trouble. My situation is a little unique, too; even though Amazon doesn’t require it, I prepaid the entire value of the Switch with online exchange credit for old games, consoles and accessories. That being the case, I can only cancel my order for store credit… which I would only use to buy a Switch, anyway, so what’s the point of cancelling? Also, just to rub salt in the wound, I’ve actually received the two BotW amiibo that weren’t supposed to be here until next Tuesday, as well as a Switch carrying case and my BotW game itself.
But not my Switch.
Nintendo needed to hold up their end of the bargain this time around, making sure that plenty of Switch consoles would be available at launch, and anecdotal evidence would suggest that no other major retailers suffered an upward tick in their missed deliveries over the course of the Switch launch day. Nintendo, it appears, did their job this time; they ordered enough Switch units from their manufacturer so that anyone who wanted to get it Day 1 shouldn’t have had a problem, particularly if they had had the foresight to place a pre-order.
Amazon has taken that logic, ripped it up, and tossed it to the wind. We don’t know what happened to our Switch orders, we don’t know what’s going to happen or when it’s going to happen…all we know is that we had hoped to spend March 3rd exploring Hyrule. Instead, we’ve been left exploring the Amazonian depths (particularly the customer service page) hoping to find a clue of what it was, exactly, that went wrong.