July 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM ET
UPDATED: See below
If you were planning to finally pick up one of Nintendo's new 3DS gaming gadgets, you're going to have to pick it up somewhere other than Amazon.com. The online retail giant appears to have suspended sales of the gadget that lets you see video games in 3-D without wearing special glasses.
A visit to this Nintendo 3DS product page at Amazon.com reveals this message from the retailer:
While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it's described here. (Thanks for the tip!) We're working to fix the problem as quickly as possible.
Though oddly enough, if you visit this page at Amazon.com right now, you can still purchase the device. It's not clear what the difference between the two pages is. Both indicate that Amazon and Target will be fulfilling the order. And a visit to Target.com directly shows that it is still selling the device.
Perhaps there's just a rare bad batch of 3DS devices floating around at Amazon? There's also speculation sales were suspended because consumers found that the 3DS' top screen rubs against the bottom screen, over time leaving the top screen scratched up (as one customer posted here).
But for the most part, the device has been receiving positive reviews from customers at Amazon.com. Out of 359 customer reviews, 210 gave it five stars and 84 gave it four stars.
Still, this is just the latest difficulty Nintendo's new portable gaming gadget has faced since launching back in March. Initial reports suggested some 3DS owners were encountering a "black screen of death," though that did not turn out to be a far reaching problem. And some customers have reported feeling dizzy and nauseated when using the device's 3-D display.
I've reached out to both Nintendo and Amazon to find out why the 3DS sales have been suspended. Amazon has not yet responded, but a Nintendo representative told me they are checking into it and will get back to me. So check back here for an update.
UPDATE #1: An Amazon spokesperson has responded with this explanation:
We received customer feedback that there may be an inventory issue with the Cosmo Black Nintendo 3DS. The integrity of the product is not under review. Customers are still able to purchase the Amazon.com offer of the Aqua Blue Nintendo 3DS, however the Amazon.com offer of black Nintendo 3DS has been removed until the inventory issue is resolved.
When I asked them to clarify what kind of "inventory issue" this was, the spokesperson replied:
Although I am not able to provide more detail on the inventory issue itself, I can confirm that there is no problem with the Cosmo Black Nintendo 3DS units themselves. This is an inventory problem that was brought to our attention from customer feedback and we are looking into it and will resolve as soon as possible.
UPDATE #2: The Amazon spokesperson now says: "Happy to report that the Amazon offer of the Cosmo Black Nintendo 3DS has been reinstated."
So there you have it. Whatever the issue was, it doesn't appear to be a problem with Nintendo 3DS devices themselves and it appears Amazon has sorted it out.
(Thanks to Consumer Reports for the heads up.)
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Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter or join her in the stream right here on Google+.You can check out the In-Game Facebook page right here.