While the console market is in a bit of a downturn for the video game industry overall, the Nintendo Switch has proven to be a lone bright spot for retailers. With PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X both set to release later this year, interest in their predecessors seems to be at an all-time low. Unfortunately, retailers might not even be able to count on Nintendo Switch in the coming months. According to a report from Bloomberg, shortages of the console are expected to impact North America and Europe starting in April. The shortages are a result of the Coronavirus outbreak in China, where components for the console are produced.
The timing is certainly unfortunate for Nintendo. Next month will see the release of one of Switch's most anticipated titles, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game will likely help move Switch units, but that won't be the case if they aren't available for consumers. Pre-orders for the Animal Crossing themed Nintendo Switch unit were already delayed in Japan thanks to the outbreak, but this is the first conformation of a shortage outside the region. Given the evergreen nature of releases like Animal Crossing, it shouldn't hurt Nintendo too much in the long run, but it will cause some headaches for gamers that have held off on purchasing the system up to this point.
The news should be of greater concern for some retailers, however. GameStop cited Switch as one of the lone bright spots in a bad holiday season for the company. With Nintendo Switch possibly becoming scarce, GameStop won't be able to count on the console. It's not just GameStop that will see an impact, however. According to NPD Group, Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console in the US in January.
With Switch, Nintendo has found a unique niche in the video game industry. Despite being under-powered compared to Sony and Microsoft's consoles, the handheld hybrid has managed to draw a large number of developers and gamers to the platform. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact the shortages have on the console's growth, moving forward. Some pundits have wondered what kind of impact the impending releases of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will have on Switch, but the handheld nature of the device gives it no real competition for gamers on the go. Still, if the shortages go on for too long, it could easily hurt Nintendo's current momentum.
Have you purchased a Nintendo Switch? Were you holding out for the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!