Ni No Kuni and the Wrath of the Horrible PR Disaster

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UPDATE Namco Bandai has just provided an official statement regarding the stock shortages and PlayCanada controversy. Here’s what they had to say:

NAMCO BANDAI Games America would like to officially offer clarification to certain stories and sentiments surrounding the Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition.

NAMCO BANDAI Games America would first like to acknowledge our fans that will not be receiving their copy of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition. This situation is truly unfortunate, having come about due to a glitch within our E-commerce provider’s ordering system. NAMCO BANDAI Games America continues to monitor the situation and is actively working with our E-commerce provider to offer remedies to each and every order. We are also working to ensure that a situation like this never happens again. We respectfully ask for our fans’ patience during this time.

NAMCO BANDAI Games America is not, nor has it ever, worked with or in conjunction with the EBay seller known as “PlayCanada” to sell units of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition at a price premium on EBay .

According to our records, this individual or group of individuals purchased Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition during the NinoStarter promotion period (August 2012); at which time, no limits were placed on how many units an individual could order.

PlayCanada’s claims that they officially worked with NAMCO BANDAI Games America to obtain their stock is entirely false.

We understand the $20 clubNamco voucher that has been offered to our affected fans may give little solace in place of an actual Wizard’s Edition package. It is unfortunate that we are unable to produce additional Wizard’s Edition units to fulfill all the extra orders; with that in mind, NAMCO BANDAI Games America will be giving the affected fans a 400 page hard bound copy of the Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch strategy guide which includes an exclusive code to unlock a Gold Hurly Familiar in the game in addition to the original $20 clubNamco voucher. Our E-commerce provider will be contacting the affected customers in the coming days with instructions on how to obtain their copy of the Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch strategy guide. We hope that this can give the affected consumers some comfort; NAMCO BANDAI truly does value and care about its fans.

———————————-Original Story Follows————————————

This week was supposed to be a joyful one for North American gamers who’ve waited years to dive into Level-5 and Studio Ghibli’s jointly produced role-playing masterpiece, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. And as many fans are discovering, the game has been well worth the wait. But for the biggest fans – those who put down $120 on publisher Namco Bandai’s website to secure the Wizard’s Edition of the game – the Ni No Kuni launch has been anything but magical.

Reports earlier this week from upset fans on NeoGAF, Facebook, Twitter and the official Namco Bandai forums suggested orders were being cancelled due to billing errors. Others stated their credit cards and bank accounts had been hit with pre-authorization charges for the game, but that customer service representatives for Digital River, the order fulfillment company Namco Bandai uses for their online store, could not provide shipping estimates. Launch day came and went, and while those who’d picked up the standard version of the game were enjoying it immensely, fans who’d ordered the Wizard’s Edition were completely in the dark about when their copies were going to ship.

On Wednesday afternoon, some fans reported getting shipping notifications; then in the early evening, Digital River issued an official statement via the Namco Bandai forums:

We apologize for the discrepancies you may have encountered with your order of NAMCO BANDAI’s Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch™ – Wizard’s Edition. As one of our valued customers, we want to assure you that a Digital River representative will be reaching out to you individually via email to address your specific issue. Should you wish to contact us, please call us at 952-392-2057. We sincerely appreciate your patience as we work through this situation.

The mood lightened as talk among fans shifted from the poorly handled launch to the quality of Level-5′s game. Then something else happened: Namco Bandai sent out a mass email to hundreds of fans telling them their orders had been cancelled and that they wouldn’t be able to get the game after all:

Digital River is very sorry for the problems you had ordering NAMCO BANDAI’s Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch™ – Wizard’s Edition. Regretfully, we must inform you that because of an error in our ordering system, the available inventory of Wizard’s Edition was oversold by mistake. As a result, we were unable to fulfill your order because it was placed after the stock was depleted. You will receive an official order cancellation notice within 24-48 hours.

It sounded like a simple, unfortunate, stocking error, but then the forums exploded yet again when fans who’d ordered the game last summer reported having their orders cancelled, while others who’d gotten the game during a one-day restock last week received shipping confirmations. While there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason as to who had their orders cancelled and who received shipping notifications, one thing is clear to us after several hours waiting on hold with Digital River’s customer service: neither Namco Bandai nor Digital River were equipped to handle the demand for the game.

About The Author

Michael Burns is the Founder and Executive Editor of Invisible Gamer. Between custodianship of this site and contributing work for sites like IGN and 1UP, he spends entirely too much time thinking about video games – especially old ones. A recent migrant to New York City from northern California, Michael can often be found under a tree in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, thinking "big thoughts" and generally just loving life. Find him elsewhere on the web at the links below.

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