Active Gulf, an official Nintendo supplier in the Middle East, is forcing retailers to sell Switch units with bundles. This is coming from several close sources I verified who are dealing with them.
As you’re probably aware, the Switch comes with no games. This is obviously to keep the price down to its regular $300 value. However due to Active Gulf’s strategy of forcing a 1-2 Switch bundle the mark up has been raised considerably. As a result various outlets such as Geekay Games have been getting criticized for forcing bundles even though they basically have no choice. They and many others literally can’t sell the Switch alone due to the bundle restriction.
I’ve contacted Active Gulf for a statement and will update the article once/if I receive it.
Active Gulf have long been considered a question mark in the Middle East gaming world. Unlike other suppliers, they seem to be completely out of touch with the market and have basically no clue about their audience. As a resident in Bahrain I often struggle to support Nintendo products in the region due to their confusing region code and the fact there is no proper support. So I just end getting everything digitally or just purchasing it from abroad (or re-sellers who get it from abroad). Of course I’m not the only one who feels this way which probably explains why most people I know buy Nintendo products outside the region.
Nintendo has a large community in the Middle East. It may not be as large as the PlayStation behemoth but it’s there and needs to grow. Active Gulf has ironically remained inactive to help. No PR events or communicating with local media outlets. Lack of support will only mean that Nintendo will continue to ignore us.
The Switch is meant to be a new beginning for Nintendo and a chance to strike gold in areas it might have overlooked in the past. Adopting a region free philosophy is a start but going by Active Gulf’s recent strategy it seems the Switch will be too pricey to break the market. All I have to say is thank god for Amazon.