Will the Nintendo Switch Suffer from Prolonged Stock Shortages?


It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch has sold like hotcakes since its March release. The hybrid has taken the public by storm, and as a result, initial sales completely blew past even Nintendo’s own expectations. While it’s great the system has been selling so well, the unexpectedly high demand has resulted in a drought — not of games, but of systems. Technically, this is a good problem to have, but could the situation eventually hurt the Switch if it isn’t fixed soon?

Nintendo has constantly been accused of artificially creating demand by holding back the shipment of units on purpose. Doing this creates an apparent shortage of stock, with the hope of making customers to desperately seek a unit out and snatch it up without a second thought once they happen to come across one; kind of like finding a hidden treasure. Why would such an accusation be slammed against the company, though? Well, this isn’t the first Nintendo product to be sold out on such a regular basis.

The original Wii, certain amiibo characters and the short-lived NES Classic were all subject to the same production turmoil that currently plagues the Switch. In all instances, Nintendo was accused of holding back unit shipments on its own in order to increase the demand. Considering that all of those products went on to generate a sea of green paper for the company, it would seem likely that it is indeed using this business tactic, and is seeking to repeat success with the Switch.

Sounds like a pretty effective idea, right? Well, not every conspiracy is as true as it seems, even the ones that appear to be likely.

It took Nintendo about a year to fix the original Wii’s production issues. Why?
It was an unexpected worldwide phenomenon.

For starters, Nintendo has already gone on record denying the claims of creating artificial demand with the Switch. A report was released a few days ago that revealed that the company is having issues manufacturing new units at a high rate due to the fact that other tech-giants like Apple require some of the same components for their own devices. Because Apple is a  bigger clients than Nintendo, the supplier has put the Switch at a lower priority. The problem is basically out of Nintendo’s hands for the time-being. It just has to patiently wait until it can secure more stock of the necessary components so that it can build Switch units fast enough to keep them in constant supply.

The question is, when? When will the Switch get to a level where people don’t have to pounce the second a retailer announces a new shipment? Nintendo is hoping to resolve the issue throughout July and August before the holiday shopping storm ignites. But, what if it still can’t be done by then?

If the Switch continues to have scarce availability, then it’s only a matter of time before potential customers eventually lose interest. The Nintendo die-hards most definitely will keep trying to snatch one, but the more casual consumers just may move onto other platforms. The PS4 and Xbox One have been out for nearly four years at this point, yet they’re both selling at a noticeably high rate. In fact, the PS4 family outsold the Switch last month (May) in North America, as revealed by the recent NPD report.

The Switch is going strong right now, but that could change if Nintendo can’t fix the stock problems soon enough.

This goes to show that while the Switch is a very popular item right now, the competition still poses a very real threat. Of course, Nintendo cannot just press a button on a magic Switch-making machine and have it pop out 100 new units per minute. Even so, the problem needs to be fixed as quickly as possible.

One thing that is still in the Switch’s favor is that it has a number of big titles set to come out throughout the rest of the year. While that is the case, there are also a number of big multiplatform games that will be coming to the PS4 and Xbox One later this year that are not anywhere to be found on Switch. While a few games such as NBA 2K18 and FIFA 18 will be there, it’s still an incredibly limited selection compared to the other systems.

The Switch has selling power, but it will not last forever, especially if stock continues to be in low availability. Whatever Nintendo has to do in order to ramp up production, it needs to be done with haste. As for consumers right now, if you happen to find a Switch out in the wild and it won’t burn a hole in your wallet, then grab it.

If you can find it, buy it. 

A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.