Nintendo fans brave cold weather for 'Switch' launch

Some fans waited as early as 11 a.m. for the new video game console.

Junior Gonzalez

Several stores around York County held special midnight openings for Friday's arrival of a new Nintendo console.

A customer purchases a Nintendo Switch during a midnight release event at Best Buy in York.

The Nintendo Switch launched to moderate fanfare, with some fans braving the cold weather for hours to get their hands on Nintendo's first new console brand since the Wii U in 2012.

David Arnold, of West York, was the first person in line at the Best Buy on Concord Road in Springettsbury Township, arriving at 11 a.m. Thursday.

"My feet are so cold that I can't even feel them right now," he said minutes before midnight.

Arnold said he originally planned to wait to buy the new console, but then he discovered it could be months before he could get his hands on one after release day.

"With the NES Classic, they did the same thing," he said, referring to the 8-bit video-game console that was among the most popular and elusive items of the past holiday shopping season.

About 45 people lined up for the Switch at Best Buy. Some of the first customers were let in 30 minutes early to purchase the console, but they were sequestered inside until midnight. Many were quick to come inside from the freezing temperatures; it was 31 degrees when the first group of six were let inside.

Video-game retailer GameStop also held midnight openings at most of its locations in York County, with limited availability of non-pre-ordered consoles.

Arnold, along with his friends Kayleigh Witt and Brandon Mong, also of York, said they were all excited about the unique features of the Switch.

"I love that it's portable," Arnold said.

The big draw for Mong is that the Nintendo Switch is both a handheld and home console.

The console has a base that houses a display with modular controllers on either side, which can be connected to a TV when at home or completely functional on its own when out and about.

"They're trying to expand the regions in which you can play," Mong added.

At $299, the Switch is more affordable than the $399 and $499 starting prices for the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One consoles, respectively.

"It shows that you don't have to make it the beefiest console ever and then ramp up the price," Arnold said.

Fans were excited to get their hands on new takes of classic Nintendo titles, including Zelda, Mario and Bomberman. Unlike at prior Nintendo releases, however, the line of fans appeared to be a more mature crowd.

“(Nintendo has) mostly appealed to a kids' market, but now they're starting to realize that, ‘OK, the gamers (that Nintendo) used to appeal to are now our age,'" said Witt, 26.

Kayleigh Witt and Brandon Mong, both of York, read specifics of the new Nintendo Switch console during Best Buy's midnight sale of the console in York.

Most inventory shipped to stores were reserved for customers who had pre-ordered the console, which sold out almost immediately. Best Buy handed out tickets to all who were in line by 11 p.m., but store manager Matt Jay refused to disclose how many consoles the store had on hand.

Arnold said he also waited nearly 13 hours because he forgot to pre-order the console in January, but he blamed scalpers for its quick sellout.

He scoffed at the idea of profiting off of a re-sale of the console.

"God, no," he said repeatedly.