Just before Christmas, a trip to Nintendo Co.’s flagship store in Tokyo would have required an hour’s wait just to get in and buy a plush Mario toy or a set of chopsticks bearing Luigi’s face.
Opened in November on the sixth floor of the renovated Shibuya Parco shopping mall, the constantly packed 300-sq.-meter showcase exhibits the appeal of Nintendo’s intellectual property contrasted against the conservatism that leads it to habitually underestimate its popularity.
The long lines are a sign of the customer loyalty Nintendo’s counting on in 2020 as it ramps up mobile efforts and ponders successors for the aging Switch.
A deluge of fans — foreign and Japanese — has overwhelmed the outlet since the moment it opened. Staff said there hasn’t yet been a day without a long line of people waiting to get in, despite distributing numbered tickets before opening its doors at 10 a.m. each day. On Dec. 9, Nintendo issued a tweet asking fans to “dress warmly” as it anticipated they’d have to wait outdoors. All this is in spite of an out-of-the-way location that few would stumble into off the street.
The line to get into Nintendo’s emporium typically overflows down a nearby staircase. Once inside, shoppers don’t get much space — it’s a compact venue for one of Japan’s biggest and most globally renowned brands. The line for cashiers snakes around the store’s inner periphery, and a tourist wearing a Los Angeles Chargers hat said he’d waited over 30 minutes just to pay.
Just before Christmas, a trip to Nintendo Co.'s flagship store in Tokyo would have required an hour's wait just to get in and buy a plush Mario toy or a se