Nintendo Defends Switch Shortages As Not Intentional And Apologizes To Gamers
Are you still having trouble finding a Nintendo Switch console in stock? Well, if it is any consolation, Nintendo is awfully sorry about the inconvenience, or so the console maker says. And in a recent interview with Arstechnica, Nintendo Senior Director of Corporate Communications Charlie Scibetta pushed back against the conspiracy theory of an artificial shortage to drive up demand.
"It's definitely not intentional in terms of shorting the market," Scibetta says. "We're making it as fast as we can. We wantto get as many units out as we can to support all the software that's coming right now... our job really is to get it out as quick as we can, especially for this holiday because we want to have units on shelves to support Super Mario Odyssey."
Personally I never bought into the conspiracy theory that Nintendo was intentionally shorting the market. The numbers never supported the claim. Just the opposite, the Switch came out the gate as the fastest selling console in the company's history with more sales in its first two days of availability than any Nintendo-brand game system that came before it, even the hugely popular Wii. And after a month on the market, Nintendo was looking at nearly 1 million Switch sales in North America alone. It was also the best selling console in April.
If Nintendo is guilty of anything here, it is for failing to anticipate the level of demand the Switch would command.
"We anticipated there was going to be demand for it, but the demand has been even higher than we thought," Scibetta added. "We had a good quantity for launch, we sold 2.7 million worldwide in that first month, said we're going to have 10 million [more] by the end of the fiscal year... Unfortunately, we're in a situation right now where as quick as it's going into retail outlets it's being snapped up. It's a good problem to have, but we're working very hard to try and meet demand."
Indeed, it was reported a few weeks ago that Nintendo nearly doubled its official hardware shipment guidance from 10 million units for its fiscal year ending in March 2018 to 18 million units. When you look at the numbers, even if Nintendo was better prepared at launch, a shortage seems almost inevitable at some point.
This is not the first time Nintendo has dealt with a shortage of consoles. Back in 2007, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime addressed the same conspiracy in regards to the Wii and said at the time "there is no secret plan to store Wiis in a warehouse to spur demand." More recently, Nintendo was again caught off guard, this time for its Classic NES consoles. That situation was a little more egregious, as Nintendo raised hopes of having sufficient inventory by the holiday (there wasn't) before abruptly discontinuing production.
"I think we could have done a better job communication that was gonna be a limited run," Scibetta explained. "It was supposed to be for the that holiday. We extended it actually because demand was so much, then we stopped producing it."
The good news for anyone shopping for a Switch is that Nintendo is not going to stop production anytime soon. Finding one in stock (and without an inflated price tag), however, remains a challenge. In the meantime, check out our review of the Switch, which also includes buying advice and some tips for maximum fun.