If you’ve ever bought a Nintendo handheld, this has happened to you: you saved up, bought your system, and seemingly the next day Nintendo releases the hardware in a different color.
This is becoming a problem for Switch owners as well. Early adopters had the choice between grey or Neon Joy-Con, but little did we know that Nintendo would release not one but two console bundles with exclusive controller colors… in just over 6 months!
It’s just common practice for the Big N. They revitalize sales by injecting new collectible colors into the market.
People say that the install-base for 3DS is 60-70 million. It’s not.
That’s how many systems have sold, period, not unique users.
The question becomes, when do you buy the system? When do you wait for a different color or edition? Galaxy, Samus, creamsicle, you name it… it could be on the way; right around the corner, three years from now. Or never.
Lucky for you, I have the perfect answer!
Oh wait—no, I don’t. It’s entirely subjective, but here’s what I personally like to do: as an early adopter, purchase one of the first editions. Skip all the other bundles and plastic dyes until the actual internal hardware is improved.
For example, I bought the original blue 3DS (the one that looked like a tiered cake). I didn’t upgrade until the New 3DS XL was released (and no, they haven’t convinced me to downgrade to any model of 2DS).
In a perfect world, Nintendo would handle this a lot differently. See, releasing the best stuff midway into a platform’s lifecycle is bad for your early adopters. It teaches fans the lesson “always wait to buy—the best is yet to come.”
To combat that: release all the best editions at the start. Make them “limited,” invite the masses onto the platform and let them choose from many different configurations. Once early adopters have been satisfied, narrow down the offering. Make it simple and easy for latecomers to choose a SKU.
The objection here is that console launches are hard, and releasing multiple colors complicates the production and fulfillment side of things.
I acknowledge that, but Nintendo already has production issues, so why not work on those and kill two birds with one stone?
They need to start sitting on inventory until they have enough to appease day-one buyers anyway. A conversation for another day.
I propose a method that will reward Nintendo’s loyal customers, not punish them and teach them to wait and buy.