In what must be the biggest threat to Japan since Godzilla, reports are coming in that retailers might not be able to meet demand for Super Smash Bros. Brawl come January 31st. According to Canned Dogs, Lepton (a games retailer in Japan) bemoans that the store is only getting 154 copies of the game from Nintendo. That's not even close to meeting the 800 preorders that the retailer has received, let alone walk-ins. Lepton is even paying over retail price to get Brawl from other sources (meaning they'll lose money by selling the game), so that the store can honor more of its preorders. Because the entire country seems to be facing shortages, though, Lepton has only been able to come by 100 extra units, even at inflated prices.
The initial Brawl shipment for Japan is reputed to be only 300,000-400,000 copies, which is not much for a popular title in a country with 5 million Wii gamers. Import retailer NCSX is also reporting a small supply, and has stopped taking preorders as a result.
Does this mean we'll see riots in Japan on the eve of February, incited by frustrated gamers longing to get their hands on the Wii's most anticipated game to date? And, is it possible that North American gamers will face similar shortages when Brawl releases here in March? We can only hope the answer to both of these questions is, "no."