UPDATE: We’ve been informed the interview is a Q&A session with a staff writer Tani Tsuchiya at Manichi. However, there is a comment from Nintendo, saying they “couldn’t predict” when the shortage will end. The article has been corrected to reflect this.
In Japan, the Nintendo Switch shortage has been a huge talking point for months. 5000 people lining up to win a chance of buying one (you read that right), frustrated online commenters condemning the console’s shortages, and even a Japanese family treating a Switch lottery line as an outing.
Mainichi Newspaper’s staff writer Tani Tsuchiya has asked Nintendo about the Nintendo Switch shortage which has been going on for 6 months in Japan. We’ve translated the interview, so you can see what they have said below.
Q: It’s been half a year since the Nintendo Switch launched, why (are the shortages are still ongoing)?
A: Nintendo has never expected the Nintendo Switch to sell this much. You have to understand Nintendo doesn’t own the factory (making Nintendo Switch), as production is handled by another company in China. It’s easy to increase the production capacity of the factory. The finished product needs to be delivered from the harbor to the rest of the world, and rushing shipping is an extremely difficult thing to do.
Nintendo must also increase orders for parts that are made by many other different companies, and these are the same companies that also supply components for Apple’s upcoming iPhone, data centers, and many other products. Because of this it’s difficult for these companies to guarantee timely delivery of the orders, hence production falls behind schedule.
Q: Why has the Nintendo Switch become so popular?
A: There’s a lineup of popular software that both kids and adults enjoy. Splatoon 2, which launched in July, has sold more than 1 million copies in Japan. The Nintendo Switch is a home console that is placed on a table (TV Mode), and it can even be brought outside to play with a small built-in screen (Handheld Mode). In Japan, handheld consoles are very popular, and in the west, home consoles are very popular. Because of this, the Nintendo Switch is very famous on video streaming sites, and this further spreads its popularity throughout the world.
Q: How long will the shortages last?
A: Nintendo is currently aiming to sell 10 million units worldwide this year, but it’s said in reality there are 20 million people who actually want to buy one. We also expect the Switch to be popular with people who aren’t familiar with gaming. Nintendo is unable to tell when the shortages will actually end, saying “we couldn’t predict it at all”, so it will be hard for consumers to purchase a Nintendo Switch in the foreseeable future.