Due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus, Nintendo says that Switch console shipments will be delayed in an apology to players this morning. Nintendo Switches are predominantly produced in China, and the console’s primary manufacturer is currently experiencing a widespread production shutdown over public health concerns.
The novel coronavirus strain continues to spread throughout China and abroad, with the global death toll mounting to nearly six hundred out of almost thirty thousand infected. China has taken the brunt of the deadly virus’s aggression, having originated in Wuhan, China in January. To minimize transmission of coronavirus, the Chinese government has mandated vast lockdowns, and industries have followed suit. Tens of thousands of Chinese movie theaters lay vacant, Disneyland in Shanghai has been silent for weeks, and major esports events have been called off until further notice.
Joining them is Foxconn, the largest electronics manufacturer in the world and the company that Nintendo predominantly relies upon for production of Nintendo Switch units. Early this morning, Nintendo tweeted a link to their apology to fans and prospective Switch owners. Roughly translated, the Nintendo of Japan document thanks players for their patronage and states:
“Due to the current outbreak of the new coronavirus infection, it is expected that production and shipment delays will be inevitable for peripheral devices such as the Nintendo Switch and Joy-Con produced in China for the Japanese market. Similarly, shipments of the currently out-of-stock “Ring Fit Adventure” are expected to be delayed.”
Western pre-orders of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons special edition Switch will likely be unaffected by the production stoppages, as Nintendo is directly addressing Japanese sales in its apology. Of course, that’s subject to change, but Nintendo of America hasn’t made any similar announcements as of yet.
Even if coronavirus does ultimately affect hardware shipments headed outside of Japan, neither Nintendo nor Foxconn would really be at fault given the dire circumstances. Coronavirus is making significant economics impacts worldwide, but no amount of money or material satisfaction lost can compare to the potentially devastating effects that the virulent disease could inflict if left unchecked. Additionally, as great as it would be for Nintendo to be as on-track as possible to ship its cute Animal Crossing-themed consoles on time and inch closer toward the development of new hardware, packing hundreds of low-wage workers together in a Shenzhen factory to toil away in the middle of a public health emergency would be as immoral as it sounds.
Coronavirus shows few signs of stopping soon, but health professionals in China and around the globe have so far done a commendable job of keeping things from reaching a pandemic threshold. Hopefully, the disease’s deadly grip will weaken as quickly as possible so that Nintendo, the people of China, and the rest of the world can get back to business as usual without fear of further contamination.
Next: Coronavirus Chic: Social Media Influencers Show Off Masked Style