North Carolina shoppers hoping to buy a Nintendo 3DS game console largely have been out of luck since Black Friday, when major retailers across the state typically sold out their entire stock.
But the shortage isn’t limited to North Carolina stores.
Nintendo recommends that consumers turn to retailers such as Target, Best Buy, Walmart and GameStop for the console, but searches on those retailers’ websites show that the various 3DS models are out of stock. In some cases, the cheaper 2DS model is also unavailable.
In addition to these major retailers not having the 3DS in stock at stores within a 250-mile radius of North Carolina’s largest cities, including Raleigh, they’re also sold out online. Nor can consumers place a reserve order for when the system becomes available.
Employees at local retailers say they’ve fielded many calls about the gaming system since before Thanksgiving and have faced their share of frustrated customers. But they don’t see an end in sight.
Meanwhile, online retailers such as Amazon and eBay list inflated prices for the models of the 3DS they have, which run for about $200 at major retailers. Most systems available on Amazon are sold by third-party retailers, not Amazon.
Consumers have taken to using inventory tracking websites such as instock.net to track when 3DS consoles arrive at local stores. But, according to one Target employee, even when Target stores get a shipment, they usually receive only one or two units per location.
On Twitter and a few online forums, people questioned why there appears to be such a low supply of 3DS consoles since the gaming system isn’t a new release. The most recent model that isn’t a special edition was released last year.
People speculated about an apparent trend on the part of Nintendo to create artificial scarcity for its products, though they noted that’s been reserved for new releases in the past. Some speculated that the popularity of the new Pokemon Sun and Moon games had driven up demand for the 3DS.
But no one seemed to have any answers, and Nintendo isn’t supplying any.
When asked about the shortage of 3DS consoles in North Carolina and across the country, a Nintendo of America spokesman provided a terse statement from the company: “We have nothing to announce on this topic.”
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett