Super Mario 3D All-Stars’ limited availability helps scalpers, hurts customers

Super Mario 3D All-Stars was announced today, with the collection bringing together updated versions of Super Mario GalaxySuper Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario 64 to the Nintendo Switch. It’s a long-awaited announcement that has pleased many, though it comes with a caveat — it will only be available for a limited time.

Today’s Mario Nintendo Direct revealed that Super Mario 3D All-Stars will be released on September 18, 2020, though both its physical and digital eShop editions will no longer be available from the end of March 2021. This gives players a relatively brief window in which to buy it, something which will surely ramp up quick sales for Nintendo but will also increase the number of scalpers profiting off its limited availability.

With people confined to their homes throughout 2020, Nintendo has seen the Switch and games such as Ring Fit Adventure selling out rapidly. This huge demand for Nintendo products has also seen an increase in scalpers profiting off this, with third-parties on the likes of Amazon and eBay dramatically increasing the prices of these items and luring in desperate buyers.

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Now, Nintendo seems to have acknowledged the impact this scarcity can have on its sales, with it opting to only release Super Mario 3D All-Stars for a limited time. Not only will the physical edition of the game only be purchasable for roughly seven months, but the digital version will stop being available to buy at the same time, too.

This decision will no doubt see pre-orders of the game skyrocket as players attempt to ensure that they won’t miss out on the game. It’ll also increase the rarity of the physical edition of the game, ensuring that scalpers will be able to dramatically increase its price after this window of availability has ended.

Unlike Ring Fit Adventure, which required players to own its separate ring device to play it, Super Mario 3D All-Stars will function the same if players choose to purchase the digital edition of the game. However, many prefer holding on to physical copies, whether it be for collection purposes or to simply not take up more storage space than they need to. Super Mario 3D All-Stars‘ limited availability will make this difficult and will ensure that more than a few Switch owners will be left picking up the game from third-party sellers.

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It remains to be seen if Nintendo meets the demand for Super Mario 3D All-Stars at launch. If the game winds up generating enough pre-orders for it to sell out, then third-party sellers will immediately be able to start taking advantage of its limited availability and raise their prices. This limited availability will also encourage more pre-orders, creating a cycle where it’s potentially going to be a major headache to get your hands on the game when it releases.

Considering that Nintendo’s games notoriously continue generating high revenue long after they’ve been released, it’s curious why Nintendo has opted to force quick cash out of Super Mario 3D All-Stars like this. It’s essentially giving its customers the fear of missing out, and using this to get them to jump on their games early in case they eventually won’t be able to jump on them at all.

Considering that Super Mario 3D All-Stars is one of Nintendo’s most high-profile releases of the year, it doesn’t spell good news for future releases. Unfortunately, it’s imaginable that this will work in the way Nintendo hopes it will — many will pre-order early, and sales will therefore be very high at launch. Let’s just hope that this isn’t the new normal for new Nintendo Switch games.