How The Coronavirus Is Affecting Production Of The Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Co. is feeling the effect of the coronavirus. 

Shuntaro Furukawa, CEO of the consumer electronics company, confirmed in a news briefing with Reuters that Nintendo Co. is experiencing production and shipping delays of its Switch console and complementary accessories like the Joy-Con controllers. 

The Kyoto-based company moved part of its production line from China to Vietnam last year to escape the financial barriers brought by the Sino-American trade war, Reuters reports. However, the coronavirus outbreak in China poses new barriers for Nintendo Co.

According to Bloomberg, the outbreak has slowed down the export of manufacturing materials from China to Vietnam, where a major assembly factory used to build consoles for retail in the United States is located. Lack of manufacturing components to build the Switch consoles this month means that once existing inventory is sold through, Nintendo Co. will be faced with insufficient supply of the product. 

The video game developer will likely be unable to meet consumer demand for the Switch console in its United States and European markets. Bloomberg reports that “people with knowledge of the company’s supply chain” foresee shortages of the Switch console as soon as April. 

Nintendo Co. had previously reassured consumers that the coronavirus would not impact production for their U.S. and European markets. 

“We can confirm that the manufacturing of some Nintendo products for the Japanese market has been delayed due to the impact of [COVID-19] coronavirus outbreak,” the company said in a statement to the technology blog network Engadget. “Nintendo does not anticipate a significant impact on our broader global supply chain for systems and accessories at this time, and product sales in North America and Europe, including pre-orders, are not affected.”

However, issues with production coming from the coronavirus have already impacted the Japanese market.  

Nintendo Co. is expected to release a Switch console with a special design based on the upcoming life simulation video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The release date has been delayed to March 20, however, with pre-orders being pushed back from Feb. 8 to March 7.

This isn’t the first time that Nintendo Co. has faced adversity in their manufacturing process.

The video game giant has previously struggled to keep up with large demand for the Switch console, as it happened during the console’s initial release in March 2017. Lewis Ward, the director for gaming of the International Data Corporation, told CNBC that despite high sales, Nintendo Co. could have made a bigger profit when the Switch console was first released.

Sadly, it is not just Nintendo that is feeling the impact of the coronavirus. 

Sony announced on Feb. 19 that it will not attend the PAX East gaming convention due to concerns about the health and safety of their workforce in face of the coronavirus outbreak, GamesIndustry reported. According to Business Insider, Sony was scheduled to show 25 new games—including “Final Fantasy VII Remake” and “The Last of Us: Part 2”—for PlayStation 4.  

Facebook followed in Sony’s footsteps a day later, announcing their future absence from PAX East. Smaller companies are also feeling the consequences of the virus, with developer Private Division postponing their version of The Outer Worlds for Nintendo Switch until further notice. 

Only time will tell how Nintendo and other video game developers will react to the growing international threat that is the coronavirus.