• Nintendo Switch consoles have been increasingly hard to find in recent weeks, perhaps signaling that Nintendo is struggling to keep up with demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • A new report suggests that Nintendo is ramping up production in order to meet that demand.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons might be at least partially responsible for the surge in interest.
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Unless you’re an essential worker, the way that you can best serve your community and the rest of the planet is by staying inside, lowering your risk of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus or infecting someone else. As many of us have discovered, this is easier said than done, and now all of our houses and apartments are starting to feel like prisons. As a result, finding escapes inside those prisons has been vital, be it a bingeable TV show, a long book, or a video game. This might explain the sudden shortage of Nintendo Switch consoles.

If you’ve been on the hunt for a Switch in recent weeks, you might have noticed that stores are either starting to run low or don’t have any stock remaining. With everyone stuck inside, it’s no surprise that demand for gaming consoles has grown, and one report suggests Nintendo is ramping up production to meet that demand.

In a paywalled article, DigiTimes reports that Nintendo increased production orders from its partners Foxconn and Hosiden by 20% due to increased demand from countries in quarantine (via Dr. Serkan Toto). According to the report, the exclusive sales agent in Taiwan doesn’t expect new Switch consoles to arrive in the region until the end of April at the earliest. Nintendo did not respond to DigiTimes’ request for comment.

Toto goes on to note that DigiTimes has a spotty track record when it comes to Nintendo leaks (we haven’t heard anything recently about that new Switch model coming in mid-2020). That said, having recently attempted to help my friend find a Switch, this might be the most trouble I’ve had finding one since it first launched in 2017. Anecdotally, I’ve had more luck finding the Switch Lite while scouring the internet than I have the original Switch or the updated model with better battery life. If you don’t mind playing portably, the Lite might be the way to go.

It’s probably not a coincidence that this Switch shortage is coming just days after Animal Crossing: New Horizons hit store shelves. The long-awaited follow-up to New Leaf has been breaking sales records left and right, becoming the fastest-selling Switch game ever in Japan and the UK. Allowing players to explore a beautiful, remote island with their friends, New Horizons is the ideal game for this moment, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a huge percentage of the people who are buying a Switch this month are picking the new game up as well.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.