Nintendo Switch Shortage Traced to Checkout Bots

With the entire world currently practicing social distancing, people are increasingly looking to video games as a form of escapism. Unfortunately, the success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and decreased production due to the coronavirus pandemic have both made the Nintendo Switch console a bit hard to come by. However, it turns out that the reason the system is so hard to come by can actually be traced to resellers using a checkout bot called Bird Bot to scoop up the system as soon as it goes back in-stock from various online retailers. As a result, the console is fetching $200 or more over its MSRP on sites such as eBay.

The news was initially reported by Vice. The outlet was able to reach out to the creator of Bird Bot, who told reporters that the program has been made available for free, so anyone can use it. Bird Bot allows users to scoop up the system from Walmart and Best Buy, and it can also be used to purchase other items, as well. While Bird Bot was specifically created for the purpose of buying Switch units, other checkout bots are also being used to purchase the system, as resellers take advantage of the system's high-demand.

This type of practice certainly isn't atypical. Checkout bots are frequently used for high-demand items, including sneakers and concert tickets. That said, it is unusual to see checkout bots used for a video game system. The fact that resellers are now using them to flip Nintendo Switch units says a lot about the system's popularity, right now. It's definitely a stark contrast to Nintendo's struggles just a few years ago with their ill-fated Wii U console!


It will be interesting to see if the Nintendo Switch can continue to carry this momentum. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are both slated to release later this year, barring potential delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. As of this writing, Nintendo has not announced any upcoming titles for the handheld hybrid that might prove to have the same draw as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but it seems likely that some announcements have been delayed because of the pandemic.

Are you currently looking for a Nintendo Switch? Would you use a checkout bot in order to locate the system? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!