(Updated, 2/27/2017, 1:40 p.m. PST: Best Buy announced that more than 600 stores will hold midnight launch events for the Nintendo Switch. The company will treat the Switch launch like Black Friday--people will be limited to one console and given tickets while they wait in line. No ticket, no console. Not all Best Buy locations are participating in the launch, but even the ones that aren't still plan to sell the Switch on Friday morning.)
Nintendo Switch pre-orders have been sold out for a while. Given the hype around the console--and the continual shortage of the NES Classic Edition--you might wonder if you'll be able to buy the Switch on day one. Wonder no more: GameStop said it will sell the console to walk-in customers.
There is a rub, though, in that GameStop encouraged hopeful Switch owners to attend the company's midnight launch events. That's because the company will "have a limited supply of Nintendo Switch systems available for walk-in customers" when the console debuts on March 3. GameStop didn't clarify what "a limited supply" means, but chances are good that prospective buyers shouldn't wait a few days to see if the Switch is still in stock.
This has become something of a trend for Nintendo. The NES Classic Edition, an itty-bitty console that comes equipped with 30 games and a far-too-short wired controller modeled after the original NES, sold out at many retailers as soon as it was released in November 2016. Switch pre-orders have also been sold out at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and others. GameStop might be the best option for people who missed the pre-order window.
Just don't let the company's promise of two bundles-- one containing a Switch, the Pro Controller, and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for $430 and the other containing all those plus the official strategy guide for $455--trick you into buying Switch there instead of somewhere else. Switch consoles cost $300, the Pro Controller costs $70, and Breath of the Wild costs $60 for the basic version; GameStop's bundle won't actually save you money.
Of course, that also means GameStop won't gouge people who planned to buy all of those products anyway. The Pro Controller is clearly meant for gamers worried about how the Switch's Joy-Con controllers will feel when the console's in TV mode, and Breath of the Wild is the Switch's killer launch title, despite fears about Nintendo's decision to embrace paid downloadable content (DLC) for the first time in the 31-year-old franchise's history.
There's still a lot we don't know about the Switch. Nintendo finally published specs in January, but the company didn't share much information about the device's processor, and the only firm information we have on the console's battery is that it can't be removed. We know that Unreal Engine recently added support for the Switch, but we don't know if third-party developers will embrace the console or ignore it like they did the beleaguered Wii U.
Let's hope we get some answers shortly after the console debuts on March 3.