If your have your ear to the door of the Nintendo fandom, or if you even live in the same building, you’ve probably heard some of the same issues for years. By far the largest is this: Nintendo never produces enough of any product for fans to actually have access to them. Such was the case yesterday when, in classic Nintendo style, the release of a limited edition item was completely blundered. Nintendo advertised several cool upcoming products to celebrate Mario’s 35th birthday, one of which was a cool pin set featuring Mario from different early-era games. If you got one, though, chances are you made a deal with the devil or are very, VERY lucky.
First, in what seems to be a new trend, the listing for the pin sent went live early with no warning. It seems that Nintendo thought that Sony’s PS5 launch went so well that they wanted to try it out for themselves. People who were getting everything ready to go so that they could order right at noon Pacific stumbled upon an already live page and were able to get their pin set redemption code with relative ease. Then the rest of the world discovered what was happening. Soon the site crashed, leaving some unable to get the code at all. When the site eventually did go live again, some of those who had waited it out were able to get their code.
Notice that I kept saying “code” in the above paragraph. That’s because step one was to redeem your My Nintendo challenges for a code. That code then had to be taken to the My Nintendo store on a completely different website to redeem. But at least this would ensure smooth sailing there since it would slow the flow of traffic, right? Wrong. Almost immediately there were reports of the site not working or not accepting the codes. Hours later there were still reports of people who had gotten their codes before the pins were even supposed to go live but still couldn’t actually redeem the code for anything.
And then there’s the third, and most troubling, issue. Some poeple, like myself, have day jobs or other “real life” obligations that keep us from sitting at our computer for hours on end waiting for things like this. I work on the east coast, so the pins went up around 3:00pm. I got on after work, just before 6:00pm, and the pins were gone. I tried to get a code and was simply told that there were no more pins to give away. Getting a free pin set required purchasing a copy of Super Mario 3D All Stars. So Nintendo had at least some inkling of the type of numbers they could be seeing. Even worse, four out of five other “objectives” had to be completed. One of those was to play a certain stage in the mobile game Mario Kart Tour. The kicker? Even though that stage has come and gone, Nintendo won’t be giving credit for completing that objective until September 29. That means that anyone who was counting on that objective in order to get the pins is just fresh out of luck. Nintendo gave the false sense of having a choice as to what objectives to complete, and now those who made the wrong choice are paying the price for Nintendo’s complete ineptness.
This is not a new issue for Nintendo. I roll my eyes every time I see that there will be a “limited edition” Nintendo item because, as anyone who has ever collected Amiibo or wanted a Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL can tell you, Nintendo never makes enough product. In an attempt to increase the value of their “limited time” offerings, they don’t make enough to meet demand. They succeed in creating a high demand for the item, but that results in even fewer of their fans getting the items. Instead, scalpers who know the Nintendo business model snatch up as many as they can and then flip them for a profit. If you look on eBay right now, there is not a single pin set listed for below $100. Some are upwards of $250 and even $1000. And all it would have taken to avoid this was for Nintendo to say, “This is a high demand item, and you’re purchasing our game to get it. Why don’t we make enough for everyone that buys 3D All Stars to have a set?”
But they didn’t. Instead, they played the same record that gamers are honestly getting sick of hearing. At my office I’m known as the Nintendo fanboy. When E3 rolls around, everyone reads Google for Sony and Microsoft and asks me about Nintendo. After this latest blunder, though, I can’t defend Nintendo anymore. Nintendo knows how to handle releases like this. God knows they’ve completely botched releases like this enough. And as someone who’s been playing Nintendo LITERALLY his entire life, I’m done getting excited about new “celebration” releases because I’m tired of getting excited about something that I’ll never have a chance of getting.