In times of self-quarantine where video games are seeing such high demand that Nintendo can’t keep up, the company has decided it will be making more Switch consoles from here on out, according to a report by Nikkei.
The report says that Nintendo intends to increase Switch console production in 2020 by 10% more than its originally planned 20 million consoles before the coronavirus pandemic made the thing near impossible to find. This equates to roughly 22 million consoles in total. The company has been dealing with supply issues since the pandemic began (although, there appear to be some other forces at work there), with supply chains and distribution having suffered due to shutdowns for public safety. However, Nintendo plans for an increase in supply and assembling in the April-June quarter.
“We hope [suppliers] will be responsive to the production increase, but for procurement of some parts, the outlook remains uncertain, and we can’t forecast exactly how many Switches can be supplied,” a Nintendo representative said to Nikkei in a statement.
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This sounds like a positive step for Nintendo, which had recently had to shut down arms of its company like its repair centers in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, but the lingering question here is are the employees who are working on this increase in Switch production being protected from infection? The report and Nintendo’s statement says how it will be allocating parts to various suppliers all over the world, but there’s nothing here about whether or not steps are being taken to ensure the workplace is safe for those who are overseeing the creation of these extra 2 million Switch consoles.
Whatever the workplace looks like, video games as an industry are in a weird spot right now due to the pandemic. While games are seeing huge spikes in demand, studios are working from home, interfering with development of various projects like Final Fantasy XIV’s upcoming patches, major games like The Last of Us: Part II and Iron Man VR being delayed into the abyss, and the have been cancellations of several major events like E3 2020. Even the act of purchasing video games is more complicated than ever now, especially for people who live in rural areas with poor internet connections.
Despite delays and cancellations, some companies and event organizers are a little bit more optimistic about the future, as GDC recently announced plans to hold a new “GDC Summer” event in August after having cancelled the original convention planned for March. Questionable, considering Gamescom has been officially cancelled for the year and was supposed to take place in the same month. The latter still plans to hold a digital events that could bring news and announcements without the need for thousands of people to be in close proximity to one another, so hopefully GDC can read the writing on the wall.