The Nintendo Switch is out this Friday for $299, and as is the norm for any new piece of hardware these days – it's going to be almost impossible to get one if you didn't pre-order the second they were available last month.
Some stores have been holding back units so you can line up at midnight, but there won't be very many. Ideally, we'd be able to give you some kind of secret, awesome trick to finding one – but sadly the best we can do is let you know where you have the best chance, or (potentially more significantly) where you just shouldn't bother wasting your time.
3,000 GameStop stores across the US will be open for the 12:01am ET launch of the Switch, but it will have a very limited supply for walk-ins that didn't pre-order. "I would strongly suggest customers plan on attending one of our midnight launch events for a shot at securing one of these extra units. They will go fast!" said Bob Puzon, GameStop's senior vice president of merchandising, in a statement. If you think you'll be able to find one at a reasonable hour, you'll almost certainly be outta luck.
GameStop also says it will offer a very limited supply of two different Nintendo Switch bundles online. Bundle 1 will include the Switch, the Pro Controller and a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for $429.99. Bundle 2 includes all of the above, plus The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild official strategy guide for $454.99. Again, don't expect these to be available for very long. If you've not yet done the math in your head: no, these bundles aren't really saving you any money.
Best Buy has announced that it will also be holding midnight events (local time) at 600 of its stores."If you haven’t pre-ordered Nintendo Switch, quantities will be limited," it said in a statement. The console will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Just like on Black Friday, stores will have a ticketing process for customers waiting in line. If you pre-ordered and arrive before we open, you’ll have to wait in line to pick up your Switch.
Target pre-orders are completely sold out, but the retailer is claiming that you'll be able to "score your Nintendo Switch Friday 3/3" and that this is "in stores only." A flyer shared on Reddit indicated that there will be consoles "available Friday at 8am," so make sure you get there even earlier as there will almost certainly be lines.
Pre-orders were available on Amazon for what seemed like a fraction of a second, and chances are if you saw one that said it was available, by the time you clicked on the "buy" button, it was already gone. There's no information about when the system will be back in stock, but there will no doubt be plenty of resellers happy to charge you an absurd amount of money for one on Friday. You can sign up for email alerts for when they come back in stock here. Make sure you're paying attention to your inbox though, chances are any new stock will sell out super-fast too.
TOYS R US
The Switch is out of stock at Toys R Us – just like everywhere else – and as far as we're currently aware, the chain isn't planning on holding any midnight openings. You may have some luck if you show up when the store opens, but it seems highly unlikely.
Just like Amazon, all of Walmart's pre-orders are gone but they will have a limited supply of consoles for anyone that didn't pre-order. There's no indication from the company of how many it expects to have, or how they'll be handling the whole line situation – but if the only big store local to you is a Walmart, they're the best shot you probably have. "Starting at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on Friday, March 3, the Nintendo Switch will be available at Walmart Supercenters across the country for $299," the company said. "Walmart will have the system available in gray, red and blue colors." Plenty of Walmarts are open 24 hours, but if the one near you isn't, you should call the store and find out when they'll be making their stock available.
You won't get it on Friday, and you'll have to pay way more than the suggested retail price (right now prices seem to be hovering around $400) – but if you want a shot at getting one soon-ish, there are both Neon and Gray units listed for sale on eBay here.
NINTENDO WORLD STORE
If you live in New York, the Nintendo World Store is probably going to be your best shot – but it's going to be crowded, and there will almost certainly be a huge line with lots of people dressed up. If you want to revel in Nintendo fandom, it's absolutely the best place to be. True to form, the company has said very little about what it actually has planned for the location, though. "The Nintendo Switch launches at midnight!" the official website says. "Stay tuned for more details." Very helpful.