A (Failed) Attempt to Get the New Fire Emblem

The IGN Fire Emblem review video.

I neglected to pre-order Fire Emblem: Awakening before its release. I figured I would walk into my local Gamestop store and purchase a copy sometime after I got my paycheck bonus and then I would enjoy delightful JRPG turn-based tactics.

How could I have been so naive?! The launch of Fire Emblem: Awakening was plagued from the beginning, with stocking issues at Best Buys, Targets and Gamestops everywhere. Many establishments couldn’t even fulfill all of their pre-orders. Every Gamestop, Target and local game store in the greater Chicagoland area is completely sold out of Awakening. Literally. Not a single shop has this game and I live in a fairly populous commercial retail area, so I was amazed.

Even Amazon was completely sold out, with the next shipment likely going out sometime between March 14-March 20 (a full month after the game’s release).

(Side-note) I am aware it is available for download online, but I want a physcial copy. (End side-note)

So this plight has brought something to my attention. Why on earth does Nintendo understock their games, especially Japanese IP imports?

Here are three theories:

1. Perhaps Nintendo decided to play it safe, and given the decreasing sales of JRPG titles in North America in recent years, they only printed a limited number of copies?

2. It is also quite possible that the limited supply is intentional in order to drive up digital game sales on the Nintendo eShop. If the latter is the case, then this may be the trend we see in the coming years for all video games- limited stock in hopes of selling larger numbers of digital copies.

3. Nintendo has been accused of using the scarcity tactic on the Wii console launch several years ago. The argument being that by making the Wii scarce, they drive up the demand and make it a hot ticket item, similar to the Cabbage Patch doll craze in the 1990’s. This theory doesn’t seem as plausible to me because Fire Emblem isn’t a Nintendo flagship  game in the same way a Mario or a Zelda would be, so I doubt they’d employ this tactic.

Whatever the reason, I know I’m not the only disappointed gamer out there. Has anyone else gotten screwed out of their copy?

– E.B.

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