The Coronavirus outbreak has sent the tech world into a bit of a spin, with events being cancelled and production schedules sliding. Nintendo won't be escaping the effects either, with warnings of console shortages impacting the U.S and European markets as early as April.
The Coronavirus is having a huge impact in China, which is causing slowdowns in the supply chain. Nintendo uses component suppliers in China, while a factory in Vietnam is responsible for assembling Switch consoles once those components are provided. As reported by Bloomberg, a shortage of components this month is anticipated to affect the number of Nintendo Switch consoles scheduled to be shipped to the US and Europe in April, which means retail distributors won't be able to fully replenish stocks once current inventory has been sold.
This comes at a particularly bad time for Nintendo, as one of its marquee games for 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, is due to release in late March. With a new game coming from one of Nintendo's biggest franchises, demand for Switch consoles will likely see a bump. There have also been consistent rumours of a big Nintendo Direct taking place in early 2020, but game announcements may be delayed until production schedules get back on track.
Nintendo has said that it isn't too concerned about supply in the US for the time being, but is prepared to “take steps if necessary”, so seemingly there is a backup plan to ensure Switch units continue to ship, even if the number of units is reduced.
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KitGuru Says: Apple has already warned investors that it likely won't meet its Q2 financial goals due to production issues and laptop makers are bracing for a big hit too, so Nintendo isn't alone here. Assuming the virus outbreak gets under control, supply should catch up over the summer months.