The Nintendo Switch could be in short supply worldwide – or short-er supply; it's often hard to find – and if the Nintendo Switch 2 really is in the pipeline, it could also be delayed. That's due to coronavirus, which has already led to possible delays to the launch of Microsoft and Sony's next-gen consoles. Last week, Nintendo warned of delayed Switch shipments to Japan, and a new report suggests the US and Europe could face similar delays as soon as April. Although Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab) consoles destined for the US are largely built in Vietnam, the components needed to put them together are shipped from China, the epicentre of the ongoing outbreak.
Analysts have said that both the PS5 (opens in new tab) and next-gen console rival Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) may have their launch dates pushed back. While disruption and delays to the console market may be a relatively minor side effect of coronavirus, this will be bad news for a lot of people and has the potential to cause economic woes for Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and most other tech giants.
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The possible delay couldn't come at a worse time for Nintendo, as it's currently gearing up for the release of its highly anticipated title Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the latest instalment in the long-running and hugely popular Animal Crossing series. The launch of the game is being accompanied by the debut of the new Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition, which is currently sold out at a number of retailers including US store Best Buy (opens in new tab) and Amazon UK (opens in new tab).
The title is set to release on March 20 and will likely lead to bolstered console sales, but a dip in supply during such a crucial period could cut that short. While Nintendo isn't directly competing with Sony and Microsoft, and doesn't have to concern itself with the console wars, it does rely on its stable of IPs to push sales of its hardware, so these anticipated April delays in the US and Europe could be disastrous, with North America representing over 40 per cent of Nintendo's market, and Europe accounting for almost 30 per cent.
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The biggest concern voiced by Chinese factories is that workers will be asked to return to work too early, which may make the outbreak worse and more prolonged. Speaking to Bloomberg, another supplier says it was already struggling to keep up with demand even before the virus' spread, and that it may have to start turning down orders. Delays have also affected peripherals such as Joy-Con controllers and Ring Fit Adventure's Ring-Con.
A Nintendo spokesperson remained upbeat, however, saying: "We do not see any major impact on the shipment to the US currently, but we will remain vigilant and take steps if necessary. It’s possible the supply would be affected by the virus if it becomes more widespread and prolonged.”
Source: Bloomberg (opens in new tab) via VGC (opens in new tab)