Nintendo Cites COVID-19, Suez Canal Situation As Reasons For Switch Shortages

Nintendo is trying to produce as many Switch consoles as possible, but it's running into some external issues.

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Nintendo has struggled to meet demand for the Nintendo Switch due in part to the Suez Canal situation earlier this year when a ship got stuck in one of the world's busiest and most important shipping channels. COVID-19 has also factored in, the company said.

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said in the English translation of a recent investor Q&A that "demand remains strong overall" for the Switch worldwide. However, Nintendo has struggled to meet demand due to COVID-19, the Suez Canal situation, and other factors.

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"COVID-19 has caused declines and delays in freight traffic in markets outside of Japan, and retailers in some regions are experiencing temporary shortages. In particular, the accident that blocked the Suez Canal caused delays in the transportation of products bound for Europe, and retail inventories are tight in some countries," he said.

Furukawa said in the US specifically, Switch sales were "strong" in March, noting that Nintendo has been unable to keep up with demand. This has led to shortages, which some believe will continue for some time.

Not only is Nintendo struggling to transport the consoles it can make, the company is just one of many that is facing some problems with production due to the global semiconductor shortage.

"Demand for hardware continues to exceed our expectations even after the beginning of this calendar year, and production has currently not caught up to this high demand due to the tight supply and demand situation for semiconductor materials worldwide," Furukawa said.

"Although we are currently striving to produce as many units as possible, the fact is that our production plans are more uncertain than they were at the beginning of previous fiscal years," he added. "Our full-year sales plan is based on the premise that we can secure the materials necessary for production, but if we are able to produce more units, we will work hard to meet the strong demand, and to be able to ship and sell those units."

Despite these issues, the Switch is performing exceptionally well in the market. The system has sold 84.59 million units as of March 31, which puts it above the Wii and PS4 over similar periods in their own lifecycles.

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