Per a report from Reuters, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa noted that production of the Switch system in China is taking a hit from the recent outbreak of the coronavirus. As of this week, more than 7,000 have been infected with the deadly virus, and more than 170 fatalities have been reported so far. Chinese authorities have rushed to contain the spread of the contagion amid global fears of a worsening crisis on the horizon..
This comes just days after a Pokémon Video Game Championship in Hong Kong was canceled, following the outbreak’s response level being raised to “emergency.” The World Health Organization has also formally declared the coronavirus a global health emergency. Other gaming events have been affected as well. Chinese League of Legends and CS:GO events were also canned.
Even though the portable hybrid console has seen massive success since its 2017 launch, there have been bumps in the road. The most infamous problem, aside from unit scarcity, is the still widespread JoyCon drift issues. Nintendo began offering free repair and replacement last year. But still having such a high failure rate for an $80 peripheral is unacceptable to most.
Despite these issues, the Switch has now blown past the Xbox One in terms of sales in three short years, to top out so far at 52 million consoles sold. The strength and variety of the Switch lineup has caused a massive swell in support for Nintendo. The company has clearly learned many lessons from the Wii and Wii U foibles and successes over the years.
It remains to be seen if these production shortfalls will continue. But as the coronavirus continues to spread globally, with the first person-to-person case having been confirmed in the US today, it’s likely that this isn’t the last we’ve heard from the new viral infection. It’s hard to say how bad the crisis could get, but it would be wise to temper any panic or expectations of problems affecting the global economy for now.