The Nintendo Switch will be released on March 3, 2017, and it’s likely going to be very hard to track one down. This list will give you a good idea about what retailers may have the units, and which retailers are a waste of time.

Nintendo offers

The system has been out of stock when it comes to pre-orders for some time, but companies like Nintendo love that photo-op with long lines of smiling fans waiting for their chance to buy the hardware, and we already know that some of the launch units are being held back for walk-in customers on the day of release.

Your hunt may not be in vain, but I also wouldn’t want to get your hopes up; Nintendo is sure to have problems meeting demand during the first day, no matter how the system does in the long term. The good news is that Nintendo is going to ship two million systems worldwide at launch, so there is always at least a slim chance you can luck into one. We’re hoping that more retailers announce availability for walk-in customers and day one allocation as we get closer to Friday’s launch.

So where are your best chances for now?

GAMESTOP

GameStop will have systems available for walk-in customers, but they will be in “limited supply.”

 GameStop will also be selling two bundles on its website:
  • Bundle 1: Nintendo Switch + Switch Pro Controller + The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild$429.99
  • Bundle 2: Bundle 1 + Piggyback’s official guide to Breath of the Wild$454.99

Our advice? Get to the midnight launch as early as possible and be ready to wait.

TARGET

The pre-orders are sold out, and the system is just listed as “coming soon,” and there will be systems available for walk-ins as well. Check your local stores for line information and see if they’ll tell you how many units they expect to get in.

 It also looks like the retailer is going to be offering a buy-2, get-one-free deal beginning on March 5, but that excludes Switch games.

BEST BUY

Pre-orders are gone, but select locations will be opening at midnight to sell the system and accessories.

“Console, games and accessories will be available at 12:01 a.m. local time,” the official site states. “Plus, while supplies last, get a free Zelda poster.”

The electronics chain has also confirmed that it will have some units available for walk-in customers during the midnight launches.

“If you haven’t pre-ordered Nintendo Switch, quantities will be limited. So be sure to head out to a local Best Buy store ahead of time to snag your spot in line,” the company stated. “The console will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Just like on Black Friday, our stores will have a ticketing process for customers waiting in line. We will only pass out as many tickets as we have consoles available, with a limit of one per customer.”

Call to ask when they expect the line to begin, and check with many locations in your area to get as much information as possible, and then get pick where you think you’ll have the best chances of having a good position in line, or they will have the best stock.

AMAZON

The pre-orders were there one second, and gone the next. The online retailer has no information available about when the system will be back in stock, but the gray market will likely be happy to sell you one at a huge markup the moment they go on sale.

You can also sign up to be emailed when they get the systems in stock, which at least gives you a fighting chance when that second wave of hardware hits.

WALMART

The pre-orders are gone, and the idea of a midnight launch is a little moot when so many locations are open 24 hours anyway. But the chain has confirmed that it will have units available for walk-in customers, although we haven’t been told how many units to expect at each location.

Call your local store and ask how they’re handling lines; this seems like a good place to start if you’re searching for a system on Thursday night.

NINTENDO WORLD STORE

I mean, you have to be in New York City, but the Nintendo World Store is going to be ground zero for the launch of the Switch. Nintendo hasn’t said much about what it has planned, however.

“The Nintendo Switch launches at Midnight!” the official site says. “Stay tuned for more details!”

Nintendo is going to want a big line and a big party, so it’s almost guaranteed they’re going to have some systems to sell during the midnight launch, but that’s also going to be the most challenging line. If you feel like stopping by this week, however, you may be able to get a demo of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

NIntendo Tweet

TOYS R US

The retailer’s site only has a “coming soon” page live and a list of games or accessories to buy, and after calling a few locations I was told that there was no online preorder, meaning every single one of the systems that Toys R Us is receiving will be going to a walk-in. We were also told that there will be no midnight openings for the hardware’s release.

That means you have a pretty good shot of getting one as long as you’re willing to wait in line early on Friday, although I was told multiple times that they have no idea how many units each store will receive. But this is a great place to start your hunt that morning if you decide you have to have one and don’t mind waking up early.

SO TO SUM IT UP

We don’t know how much stock Nintendo is holding back for the physical launch of the system, nor how many have been pre-sold. We’ll be updating this post as we get more information and retailers announce plans, but if you’re serious about your quest I would begin calling local retailers now to see if they have any information about how they’re handling lines or stock, and call daily until they know for sure.

Happy hunting.