Do you want a Nintendo Switch to ease the boredom of socially isolating at home? Well, a lot of others want one too, which means you're going to have to pay a premium for it. The confluence of delayed shipments by Nintendo as a result of COVID-19 and a rise in demand for home entertainment has created an opportunity for independent merchants on Amazon, who are selling Switch consoles at wildly inflated prices. Times might be tough right now, but if sellers can make some extra cheddar they're not going to show us any mercy.
Thinknum has been tracking the average selling price of a Nintendo Switch on Amazon, where third-party sellers can set their own prices. The price gouging was first reported on two weeks ago when sellers were seen selling the Switch, retail price $299, for as much as $600.
Amazon apparently cracked down on this behavior on April 14th when listings for the Switch completely disappeared from the site. Now sellers have returned, getting their Switch listings back on Amazon by categorizing them as "Used — Like New" or "Collectible — Like New" instead of "New." They're going for around $500 on average.
Amazon's platform mindset causes this — As Thinknum notes, the sudden disappearance of all Nintendo Switch listings suggests Amazon took action to combat price gouging of consoles in the same way it has done with medical supplies. Amazon relies heavily on automated systems to police its marketplace, but humans are clever and always seem to find crafty ways to evade the computers in order to sell their counterfeit wares or boost their ranking in search. Amazon is constantly playing cat-and-mouse, addressing issues like this only after they're reported in the press.
The Switch continues to remain sold out at major retailers including Walmart and Target, so for now you're going to have to wait for Nintendo to replenish stock. Or, of course, pay the premium. Please don't do that, though, this behavior shouldn't be rewarded.