Stores hold drawings to randomly award customers the right to buy coveted video game system.

While Nintendo may no longer be the undisputed king of the video game hill like it once was, the Kyoto-based company still knows how to get people excited about shiny new hardware in a way that its rivals can only dream of. Just like the Wii got everyone hyped up with its motion controls when it launched in 2006, when the Switch, Nintendo’s latest system, made its debut in spring even people who aren’t hardcore gamers found themselves intrigued by its innovative hybrid console/portable play options.

As a result, the initial Switch batches sold out almost as soon as they hit retailers. That was back in March, though, so surely some of the novelty has worn off by now. But without that novelty, are consumers in Japan still interested in buying the Switch?

They most certainly are, as to this day it’s extremely difficult to find a retailer with Switches in stock. And when word gets out that someplace has received a shipment of the prized systems, this is what happens.

See that massive crowd of people lined up along the canal? They’re waiting to get into the Bic Camera electronics store in downtown Yokohama (you can just barely see part of the shop at the right edge of the photo, which was taken last Sunday). Oh, and it’s not like all of those people are guaranteed to get a Switch, either. They’re in line to get numbered tickets, a limited number of which will be randomly selected by the store to be allowed to purchase a Switch.

Yokohama isn’t the only place where demand for the Switch is far outstripping supply. On the same day would-be buyers were queuing up in Yokohama, their counterparts were doing likewise at the Bic Cameras in downtown Tokyo’s Yurakucho neighborhood…

…and also in Tachikawa, in the capital’s western reaches.

For Nintendo loyalists, it’s a touching show of the company’ ability to reach out and grab the hearts of so many people. But for shoppers, it’s sort of depressing to find out just how scare the supplies are. Japanese Twitter user @tks_skmt3 shared another photo he took inside the building, after Bic Camera employees posted the numbers that had been selected.

A quick count shows 10 gray Switches and 27 neon units, for a grand total of just 37 people who were awarded the privilege of forking over their cash for Nintendo’s hot-seller, which means everyone else had to go home empty-handed, unless they decided to just buy a PlayStation 4 out of spiteful frustration instead.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@tks_skmt3