notice of shortages at Christmas

Estimated read time 5 min read

The Nintendo Classic Mini is out of stock in many stores even before its release. The Nintendo Classic Mini is out of stock in many stores even before its release. NINTENDO

Will we see the little words of apology bloom at the foot of the fir trees on December 25th? Three of the most requested new consoles of the year 2016 – Sony’s PS VR virtual reality headset, already available; the high-end PS4 Pro console, which is released on Thursday, November 10; and Nintendo’s nostalgic gaming box, the NES Mini Classic, released on Saturday, November 12 – are heading for out of stock for the holidays.

“We had to book several months ago”

That of the NES Mini Classic was predictable for a long time. Nintendo’s retro console, which allows you to replay thirty classics from the 1980s and 1990s for 60 euros, has been flying over the tops of pre-reservations since its announcement in July. His orders have now been closed for a long time.

“To have one at Christmas, you had to book several months ago,” we explain from the Fnac side. In this Micromania in the center of Lyon, the demand is very much higher than the supply: “We have 90 reservations, we are already out of stock on the next two supplies, at Christmas and in February. “”Given the demand, we would need 40. But if we have 5, we will already be happy”, exposes, philosopher, the manager of the independent shop .

The PlayStation VR virtual reality headset. The PlayStation VR virtual reality headset. SONY

The PS VR, Sony’s virtual reality headset, is already available, but suffers from supply problems. As a result, stocks that arrive “in droppers”, we note at Micromania, and waiting lists that fill up faster than the products arrive, almost everywhere in the surveyed shops. Ditto for the PlayStation 4 Pro, Sony’s new ultra high-end console model, for which the shops expect to receive stocks adjusted to cover only reservations.

Industrial challenges and commercial calculations

For distribution professionals, there is often no doubt that these stock shortages are expertly maintained by the manufacturers themselves, who would see it as a way to increase demand. “This is the classic conspiracy theory, but the reason is much simpler,” exasperates, on condition of anonymity, an industrialist linked to one of the two manufacturers. No one likes stock-outs, because they are missed sales. But we can’t imagine the difficulty it is to produce several million copies of a new console at once. There’s no such thing as a magic factory. »

However, the situation of these three peripherals is sufficiently different for a logistical explanation alone to suffice. According to figures circulating in the distribution sector, only 100,000 NES Mini Classic would have been allocated to France, a low figure. If Nintendo does not communicate the set-ups at the local level, the fact remains that the Japanese manufacturer has no interest in putting too much emphasis on this retro console, at the risk of passing, like Atari and Sega before him, for a brand of the past. With Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon coming in November and the Nintendo Switch, its future console, in March, the Kyoto firm also has other priorities.

Questioned by The World, Nintendo France nevertheless defends itself from losing interest in its product :

“We believe that the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System can be a success and we will do our best to meet the demand as soon as it is launched and thereafter with new supplies for the holiday season and after. »

Sony’s caution

Sony is facing other problems. As for PlayStation VR, its first virtual reality headset, the Tokyo manufacturer faces two challenges. On the one hand, a high rate of manufacturing defects from the factory, an industrial corollary of a new technology. On the other hand, a lack of visibility of the commercial potential of this type of device. In this regard, the launch of the PS VR was the subject of tests. During the presentation of its financial results at the end of the financial semester, Sony announced a significant increase in production, after observing “very good sales and stores that find stocks insufficient”. The manufacturer, however, does not give any figures.

The PS4 Pro. The PS4 Pro. SONY

The PlayStation 4 Pro, finally, is not intended to be Mr. Everyone’s console at Christmas. Priced at 400 euros and designed to exploit 4K televisions, with a still small installed base, it is aimed at a specific and limited clientele. Moreover, Sony cannot give the impression of losing interest overnight in the classic PlayStation 4, which is the current main driver of its sales. In the distribution, there is no mystery about it: with the Xbox One S, which had a very good launch in September, the PS4 will remain the most purchased console at Christmas. All models combined, Sony expects 20 million consoles sold over the year.

The World

Special offer for students and teachers

Access all our unlimited content from 8.99 euros per month instead of 10.99 euros


Consumers in need of new peripherals will therefore have to be patient or turn to the second-hand market, where speculation is rife. Or, a solution as simple as unknown, track down the machine of your dreams on the day of its release in stores that do not take reservations, such as hypermarkets or toy shops.

You May Also Like

More From Author