Nintendo’s NES Classic officially goes on sale today, November 11th, in the United States. And after this week’s election, the timing of this glorious distraction machine really couldn’t be any better. The mini-console includes 30 retro games and will be available from retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target, Walmart, and others. But stock is expected to be very, very hard to come by. It’s already too late to procure one from most of the big chains, leaving an opening for opportunistic grey market sellers.
The NES Classic’s appealing $59.99 price — the cost of a single game for modern consoles — will make it a surefire smash hit this holiday season, and some sellers (including Amazon) are already warning of short supply ahead of launch day. So if you miss out today, there are really no guarantees you’ll get your hands on this thing by December or even later. Don’t wait. Fight off the ruthless eBayers planning to flip their NES Classics for huge profit and get your must-have stocking stuffer.
Below are the crucial specifics on where and when you can try securing your own. Aside from a second controller (and extension cords for both), don’t worry about buying anything extra; an HDMI cable comes packaged in the box. I’ll update this article as more retailers provide The Verge with NES Classic release details.
Amazon (Friday at approx. 5PM ET)
Amazon is being pretty straightforward about NES Classic availability: it won’t be in stock for long. We’re probably talking mere minutes, seeing as the company is turning off one-click purchasing to give everyone the same fair shot at securing one. NES Classic orders are also strictly limited to one per customer.
Amazon estimates that sales will begin at 2PM PT (5PM ET), but you’ll probably want to be online and ready several minutes before that. Here’s the link that you’ll be feverishly refreshing. As always, check your credit card info to make sure it’s up to date!
Update 5:15PM ET: Well that didn’t go so well. Look, I’m sure there are actually some people out there that managed to score an NES Classic from Amazon. But for the rest of us, “Add to Cart” has never been such a cruel, cruel lie. And now it’s over.
We’re out of stock on the NES Classic Edition. We will let you know when we get more in stock.
— Amazon Video Games (@amazongames) November 11, 2016
Maybe planting yourself outside an actual store will make you feel better about your NES Classic odds. If so, Best Buy is one option. The company has refrained from preorders altogether leading up to launch, so it’s all first-come, first-served — and there are no midnight openings. You’ll need to get in line for normal business hours this morning. Here’s the web link if you want to try your luck that way.
Best Buy’s desktop website doesn’t seem to have any easy way of viewing in-store stock. But since you’re all my very best, closest friends, I’ve got a trick to share: you should be able to check local inventory using the company’s smartphone app. Just keep changing the store location until you find one, praying that you haven’t failed your children, or yourself — whoever you’re buying this for. Unless you live out in the sticks somewhere, it’s probably too late.
Okay NES Classic nerds, here’s a Best Buy trick. The website doesn’t show store stock, but the mobile app will (if there is any) in this tab pic.twitter.com/jEz6DZ3ToE
— Chris Welch (@chriswelch) November 11, 2016
The de facto video games store also decided against offering preorders for NES Classic. Instead, it’s using the same strategy as Best Buy: the tiny console will be available — probably in extremely short supply — when stores open today. And online at some point, too.
@bmrn27 We will not be taking pre-orders on the NES Classic. It will be available in-store on 11/11.
— GameStop (@GameStop) October 20, 2016
Nintendo Store (New York City)
Nintendo’s flagship store in Manhattan had a midnight opening on the 11th and made 250 NES Classic consoles available to those participating in its ‘80s event. The current inventory situation is a little unclear, though Nintendo has tweeted that the store is sold out of extra controllers for the time being.
On 11/10 the line begins @ 5PM & wristbands will be distributed at 7PM to the first 250 guests waiting for our #NESClassicEdition 80’s Bash
— Nintendo NY (@NintendoNYC) November 8, 2016
Target’s retail stores will kick off NES Classic sales at their normal opening times, according to a spokesperson. Online sales will also begin at some point today, though Target was unable to provide a specific time. As of launch morning, you can check in-store availability using the website, but A) who knows how trustworthy it is, and B) there’s no way to reserve a Classic for pickup — so get in your car and get driving if you see one somewhere.
Same deal as the other retailers: in-store availability at opening. But a lot of Walmart locations are open 24 hours, so this might be your quickest option for getting an NES Classic at midnight on the dot.
So… are you getting the retro system on day one?