Any Nintendo Switch owners looking to buy Ring Fit Adventure so they can exercise indoors are out of luck. The fitness role-playing game has been sold out for more than a month at major retailers throughout North America, pushing aftermarket buyers at sites like eBay to pay well over the $79.99 retail price.
The increasingly rapid spread of the novel coronavirus around the globe, and across the U.S. in particular, has led officials at all levels of government to call for everybody to take steps such as “social distancing” to keep the pandemic from proliferating further. Now more than ever, it helps to have at-home exercise activities.
I’ve been trying to buy Ring Fit Adventure myself for a month now, going back weeks before COVID-19 became a nationwide crisis in the U.S.; I just wanted it for personal fitness reasons. In mid-February, I thought I’d successfully placed an in-store pickup order at a Best Buy in the Bronx. But I was forced to cancel it shortly afterward when the electronics retailer notified me that the game wasn’t actually available at that store, or at any Best Buy within 250 miles of New York City. At the moment, no GameStop locations within 100 miles of the 10 most-populated U.S. cities — New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Houston; Phoenix; Philadelphia; San Antonio; San Diego; Dallas; and San Jose, California — have Ring Fit Adventure in stock, according to the retailer’s website.
Since that setback, I’ve been religiously checking the websites of Amazon, GameStop, Newegg, Target, and Walmart as well as Best Buy, but I’ve come up empty. Canadian customers don’t have it any better, with the game unavailable at Amazon Canada, EB Games, Fry’s, The Source, and Walmart Canada. And a glance at recently sold listings on eBay shows that Ring Fit Adventure is regularly going for anywhere from $120-$170; even the cartridge alone is selling for upwards of $90. (Nintendo does not sell digital copies of the game in the Switch eShop.)
In other words, it’s not just you — the game is impossible to find right now, and has been for some time. Nintendo confirmed the shortages in a statement to Polygon on Thursday, acknowledging that “the Ring Fit Adventure game is selling out at various retail locations in the Americas.” The company added, “We are working to provide more units as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience.”
It’s unclear whether the run on copies of Ring Fit Adventure is connected to coronavirus concerns. Nintendo’s statement did not attribute the scarcity of Ring Fit Adventure to COVID-19; in fact, the company made no mention of the coronavirus. Back in early February, Nintendo did warn that it expected shipments of Ring Fit Adventure to be delayed following the COVID-19 outbreak, but that advisory was limited to Japan, where the game was already out of stock. And with a risky product like Ring Fit Adventure, which comes with a peripheral and costs $20 more than a typical full-price video game, manufacturers may prefer to underestimate demand rather than produce an excess of units that end up sitting unsold on store shelves.
As countries look to curb the spread of COVID-19, recommended preventive measures (aside from, of course, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds) include social distancing. The phrase refers to a set of practices that include avoiding large public gatherings; if you stay at home, you’re much less likely to catch the coronavirus.
That’s why people may be looking to in-home fitness solutions such as Ring Fit Adventure as they try to keep up their workout routine during the pandemic. After all, it’s probably best to skip going to the gym (and using the sweaty equipment there that everyone is touching) right now. There are other exercise options on the Switch, including Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2020 and Imagineer’s Fitness Boxing — and while they’re not as robust or well-reviewed as Ring Fit Adventure, they’re all far less expensive than, say, Peloton or Mirror.