This week was supposed to be joyful 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.
If you ordered the Ni No Kuni Wizard's Edition, has your order been cancelled, or are you sitting pretty on a shipping notification? What do you think about Namco Bandai's handling of the situation? Sound off in the comments below!