Beware: Nintendo warns buyers about Switch scammers online

Nintendo Switch Pro
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Wachiwit)

Nintendo has warned gamers about fake websites that are supposedly selling Switch consoles at a heavily discounted price.

The company issued a statement via their Japanese site (thanks, Siliconera) and said that one nefarious website, in particular, is purporting to be an official retailer, using the company’s name and logo, in order to shift “significantly discounted” hot ticket items, such as the Nintendo Switch OLED model.

“If you purchase a product on a fake site, you may be scammed by fraudulent acquisition of personal information,” the statement reads (auto-translated from the original Japanese.) “Please be careful not to mistake it for our website, and do not purchase products from fake websites.”

Nintendo didn’t name or link to the site in question, but it’s striking that it felt the need to issue a direct rebuke. 

It’s a strongly-worded statement, linking to the Japanese consumer rights agency, and the cybercrime department of the Japanese police. 

The Switch continues to be the best-selling console on the market and is edging its way towards the 100m units sold mark. Due to its success, it means there’s next-to-no-chance of an official retailer selling any of its models for a discount. In fact, keeping the consoles in stock has been an issue for nearly two years, given the continued supply issues that have plagued the industry since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The result: a hardware market often run by scalpers, bulk buyers who mark up prices substantially above retail value, and scammers. The PS5 remains in short supply, so much so that Sony is ramping up production of PS4s, while the GPU market is a mess too.

As long as supply is constrained, there will always be a chance of undesirables preying on unsuspecting customers - so it’s refreshing that Nintendo is confronting them head-on.

Analysis: high Switch demand is likely to continue

Switch supply issues are unlikely to go away any time soon, given that Nintendo is set for another strong year. Pokémon Legends: Arceus launches later this month, while heavy-hitters such as Bayonetta 3, Splatoon 3, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will follow at some point this year. With such major titles on their way, it’s likely that hardware sales will remain strong throughout 2022.

There’s no evidence yet that such coordinated Switch scams have made it to the West, and it’s unclear how many Japanese consumers were affected. Still, it’s always worth exercising caution when buying any product online. Remember: when a deal seems too good to be true, that's usually because it is.