Nintendo has been struggling to meet demand for Nintendo Switches partly due to the Suez Canal situation earlier this year. If you’re not aware of what this is, a ship got stuck in one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping channels. Nintendo also said that COVID-19 has played a factor in the shortage.
Shuntaro Furukawa, Nintendo’s president, said in an English translated version of a recent investor Q&A that “demand remains strong overall” for the Switch worldwide. However, the company has struggled with this because of the factors mentioned above.
“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 added that Switch sales in the US were “strong” in March, noting that Nintendo has been unable to keep up with demand. This led to shortages, which some believe will continue well into the next year.
While Nintendo is struggling to transport the consoles they can make, the company is still facing the same issue the rest of the industry is–global shortages of semiconductors.
“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 problems, the Nintendo Switch is doing extremely well. The system has already surpassed 80 million sold units as of March 31st, putting it above the Wii and PS4 over similar periods in their own lifecycles.