Nintendo just recently halted all shipments of both the Switch and Switch Lite in Japan. According to a report from Nikkei, they just can’t keep up with the demand for the console, which is steadily growing due to the Coronavirus and the fact that everyone is staying home to play games. Of course, COVID-19 is also making it much more difficult to manufacture Switches, so the core of the problem lies there.
Of course, this probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Nintendo announced back in February that the current pandemic would affect shipment in the country. A Nintendo source that was quoted by Nikkei claimed that production at factories had recovered somewhat, but it is not at full capacity yet. Even so, Nintendo did not provide any sort of time window as to when Switch shipments would resume in the country.
However, it is a little odd that shipments are only being stopped in Japan specifically, as Nintendo has confirmed that they will still be shipping Switch consoles to other parts of the world, such as the United States and Europe. Then again, perhaps the demand for the Switch is even higher in those regions, as the console has been consistently selling out in physical retailers across the Western hemisphere. Perhaps for that reason, Nintendo is continuing to ship Switches to those regions.
A side effect of this shortage of Switches in physical retail locations is the massively inflated prices for the console from second-party sources like eBay and Amazon. This is mostly due to society practices social distancing and likely needing something to keep themselves entertained while in isolation.
Nintendo has acknowledged the shortages outright. “Nintendo Switch hardware is selling out at various retail locations in the US, but more systems are on the way. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
It is worth noting that no other video game console is having this much of a problem with stocks and shipping. Why this is can only be speculated on. Perhaps, being the newest gaming console by a considerable margin, there are simply more people that do not yet have a Switch, and therefore the market for the console is larger. Or maybe it is simply a slightly more affordable game console compared to the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. Either possibility is just that, and unable to be confirmed at any rate.
If you are interested in buying a Switch, now is probably not the best time to do it. They are flying off the shelves when they are available and costing a fortune when buying them online. Taking all of that into consideration, it would probably be best to wait until the situation created by COVID-19 has been rectified. Of course, if you don’t want to wait, you may still be able to find one, but whether or not you’ll be able to find one at its usual retail price is debatable and almost definitely unlikely.