“It’s a good problem to have, but it’s a problem.”
The Nintendo Switch’s shortages are at this point well documented and well known– so much so that Nintendo has apologized for them, and promised to increase supply. However, a ridiculous conspiracy theory, one that has dogged every Nintendo product since the NES era, persists- that the shortages are orchestrated by Nintendo to drum up hype and give the impression of a product more successful than it is. This, in spite of several reports confirming that Nintendo is trying to amp up production, but facing stiff competition for the same parts from other companies.
Nintendo’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications Charlie Scibetta insisted in an interview something that should be basic common sense, but sadly needs to be said nonetheless- the shortages are not intentional nor orchestrated. “It’s definitely not intentional in terms of shorting the market,” he told Ars in a recent interview. “We’re making it as fast as we can. We want to get as many units out as we can to support all the software that’s coming out 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.”
So how has the situation become as bad as it has, then? Apparently, Nintendo wildly underestimated the demand for the new system- which is not something I can blame them for, given the tepid response to the Wii U. “We anticipated there was going to be demand for it, but the demand has been even higher than we thought,” he said. “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.”
This is a logical, sensible explanation, and given the other reports corroborating troubles in the supply chain, this is something that should conclude the myth of ‘artificial scarcity’ once and for all. Sadly, I have my doubts about that happening.