When the COVID-19 pandemic sent the world economy into a tailspin, forcing countless millions to remain home and social distance to help “flatten the curve”* two items were in high demand: Toilet paper and the Nintendo Switch video game console.
Toilet paper is now once again on store shelves (for the time being) but the Nintendo Switch remains elusive. You can still buy one online, but the markup is severe: This Animal Crossing bundle will set you back $649, and a normal Nintendo Switch on Amazon costs anywhere from high $400’s to high $500’s. MSRP for a Switch is just $299.99.
The Nintendo Switch Lite has been a little easier to track down at MSRP ($199.99) but more often than not it’s selling for $300 or more, and it doesn’t have the ability to dock or detach the Joy-Con controllers.
On top of the increased demand for the Switch, Nintendo has been met with another challenge. Manufacturing in China ground to a halt earlier this year, and global distribution networks have also taken a hit. Fortunately, according to Nintendo that has slowly begun to change.
“We could not manufacture [Switch] as planned until May but production has been largely recovering from June,” Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said during a shareholder meeting according to Kyodo News. “We expect it to normalize around summer.”
Shareholders pushed back on Furukawa, pointing out that Nintendo has missed an opportunity during this crisis to greatly increase sales, and urging the company to take steps against reselling (which, let’s be honest, we should just call price-gouging at this point).
“I am sorry for causing trouble to the consumers,” Furukawa said. “We want to deliver (the console) to as many people as possible. We will improve the situation as soon as possible.”
In terms of the games themselves, Nintendo is optimistic. “Currently, we do not see any impact on software set to go on sale this year,” one Nintendo official said during the meeting, “but there is a possibility that we cannot sell it as scheduled in the event of a second or third wave (of coronavirus infections.)”
That second or third wave could impact hardware production as well, so take the good news with some reasonable skepticism. It’s great to hear that production is back on track and that we will likely see Nintendo Switch back in stock sometime this summer, but the world is defined by uncertainty more than ever these days.
Add to this the ridiculous level of reselling going on—often people utilize bots to grab up any stock that does pop up at MSRP—and even a new batch of Nintendo Switch consoles could go incredibly fast.
All I can say is, good luck young padawans. May the Force be with you. In the meantime, the PS4 and Xbox One are great consoles in their own right, and even the Wii U has a lot going for it. I bet you could find a used Wii U and some great games (like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8) and use it a lot like a Switch when you’re at home. Just a thought.