Ever since COVID-19 hit, the Nintendo Switch has become a scarce rarity on store shelves. The console is sold out across the globe and Nintendo is scrambling to keep up. Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa says Switch production is almost finished, but warns of a lag between manufacturing and availability.
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The Switch is practically sold out everywhere. Demand has far exceeded supply, and company shareholders are worried about missed sales opportunities. In an annual shareholders meeting in Japan, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa attempts to allay these fears by confirming new hardware production is almost finished and ready to be shipped out.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused to many customers due to the shortage of Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. In particular after the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, [supply] has continue to run short in markets all over the world. [But] hardware production has almost recovered,” Shuntaro said.
“However, there is a certain time lag between the time of manufacturing and the time it’s lined up in the store, and there is still high demand for Nintendo Switch around the world.”
“We will take seriously any suggestions regarding production systems and demand forecasts, and endeavor to improve the situation as soon as possible.”
Furukawa also discusses how COVID-19 forced plant closures and affected Switch manufacturing. Nintendo expects production lines to stabilize in the summer months.
“The impact of the new coronavirus infection spread throughout the world, which has affected the procurement of parts require for production, causing a delay in production of the Nintendo Switch hardware until May. Currently, the production situation is recovering, and the number of shipments is expected to increase in the future. It is our current expectation that production activities can be normalized can be normalized in the summer.”
This isn’t the first time software has massively surged high demand for Nintendo hardware, but 2020 poses a unique hurdle for games companies like Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, who are struggling to keep up with consumer demand for console products. Millions are now working from home and leisure activities are on the rise. Practically everyone is using video games as a means of entertainment and connection with friends and family during country- and state-wide social distancing measures.
Nintendo has yet to adjust its sales estimates for FY2020, and still expects to sell 19 million units in the period. Furukawa also said the Switch is currently in the middle of its lifecycle and it’s unknown whether or not the sudden demand spike will affect the company’s plans for future systems. This kind of sales potential could elongate the Switch’s lifespan and see it carry for another 1-2 years after its planned retirement.