Nintendo product

Amazon Cancels Sudden Restriction on Third-Party Sales of ‘Nintendo Products’ [Updated]


Enlarge / Console game cartridges at RAGE, Record Art Game Emporium, April 4, 2017, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. (photo by Sam Mellish / In pictures via Getty Images)

Update, November 1, 5:40 p.m. ET: Almost 24 hours after the report was published below, Amazon responded to our questions about its sudden new restrictions on Nintendo products by saying it had turned the tide. The company transmitted a declaration:

Yesterday’s email [to third-party Amazon sellers] was sent in error, and all affected ads were reinstated within hours.

The response did not explain what “error” had occurred, or what that “hour” period entailed, as yesterday’s complaints from Amazon sellers came up to six hours after receiving an alert by e -mail. It also didn’t explain if Nintendo was at all involved in the initial establishment of newer and more restrictive rules for Nintendo listings on the site. We asked Amazon to clarify if such rules could come back, as they still apply to other product categories on the site.

Original report:

The war on used video game sales has been cool in recent years, since PlayStation 4 and Xbox One adopted unlimited access to disc games. But in an attempt on Thursday to control the reputation of Nintendo products sold on Amazon, the debate could rage again.

Today, Amazon made a blunt announcement to its family of third-party product resellers that as of now, these sellers can no longer list “Nintendo products” without receiving express approval.

The announcement did not explain whether Nintendo, Amazon, or both companies were responsible for the change. And it did not include a list of affected products or Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs).

Users of the site’s third-party vendor forum pointed out one thing in common between the affected articles: the producer of the product is listed as “Nintendo”. This affects everything from modern Switch games and consoles to depleted cartridges and hardware, but it also leaves third-party Nintendo console game makers (i.e. Capcom, Ubisoft) unaffected.

Original ASIN

Amazon’s notice to resellers reads:

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide the best possible customer experience, we are implementing approval requirements for Nintendo products … As of 10/31-2019, you will need approval to list the affected products. If you do not get permission to sell these products by 10/31/2019, your listings for these products will be removed.

The notice sent to sellers was dated October 31, which means that the notice period has apparently started for some resellers, according to their complaints at an Amazon forum. At the time of going to press, enforcement of the new rules appears scattered, with some sellers already complaining of ASINs being withdrawn (after shipping affected stock from various generations of Nintendo consoles to warehouses, no less) while others say that their inventory remains intact.

Thursday’s notice asks sellers to seek “approval” of affected products before they can be listed in a “used” or “collectable” condition. Meanwhile, some sellers say they are able to list affected products in “new” condition (which is sometimes impossible or unlikely, in the interest of classic and retro Nintendo products).

This follows Amazon’s efforts to crack down on “second-hand” sales of other product categories. Included in this movement are DVDs and Apple products, which now require similar approval processes to move forward. Users of the used Nintendo forum thread have postulated that counterfeit retro Nintendo cartridges have been an open secret among Amazon sellers for some time.

In an email interview with Ars Technica, Kelsey Lewin, co-owner of pre-owned video game chain Pink Gorilla Games, agreed with the possibility. “Every online retailer has an extremely high percentage of bootlegs,” Lewin writes. “I had an experience when Gamestop started selling Game Boy Advance games [online] again. I ordered 25 copies of Pokemon Sapphire and Ruby and got 12 bootlegs. ”(Lewin added that these counterfeit and reproduction carts“ still play very well, ”even though they aren’t exactly advertised.)

However, that doesn’t necessarily explain Amazon’s general decision to restrict anything under the “made by Nintendo” sun. This move appears to imply that Nintendo or Amazon would rather limit all sales of used Nintendo products rather than create a more targeted list of software and products reviewed. Additionally, Amazon has yet to roll out a similar rule for anything produced by console producers Microsoft or Sony, perhaps in part because those companies have larger product catalogs than Nintendo. (Lewin argues that Sony’s PlayStation division would be an excellent target for such an Amazon restriction, because “the market for counterfeit PS3 controllers is huge.”)

Neither Nintendo nor Amazon representatives immediately responded to Ars Technica’s questions about the company responsible for the policy change.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.