People keep asking me why I don't have a Nintendo Switch yet. The big reason, beyond obscure metal bands releasing cool-looking vinyl albums, is that you can't just go and impulse-buy one on Amazon or in store right now. It's a thing you have to prep for and attempt to buy. Now, why is the Switch still so hard to buy? Theoretically, it shouldn't be that hard to make. The Joy-Con are unique but still just using some fairly common antennae and sensors in a unique implementation. And the base of the Switch is basically just an Android tablet. Well, see, there's the problem: there's a tiny company out of Cupertino named Apple that's choking up the supply chain.

According to the Wall Street Journal's erstwhile Takashi Mochizuki, "The problem is an industrywide capacity shortage for components used in smartphones, computer servers and other digital devices." NAND flash memory is a major source of these shortages: Toshiba's been having legal troubles, but is staying afloat thanks to its NAND storage business. Now consider that while Nintendo is no spring chicken, Apple sells a massively-profitable product in massive quantities. They are bound to get first priority from any supplier of these important parts. And while other phone manufacturers like Samsung aren't quite pulling down Apple-level profit, they're still delivering consistent, large-scale business to suppliers. So they often get first priority from suppliers above Nintendo. And since the Switch costs just $299 as opposed to the $700-$800 MSRP of many flagship mobile phones, Nintendo can't risk pushing for higher component costs lest they make the Switch's production cost go above the $299 MSRP. It all leads to an interesting problem for Nintendo, where they'll have to figure out just how to keep making Switch units while competing in a cutthroat supplier race.

So if you can't find a Switch any time soon, maybe pull out your phone and say "this is all your fault!"

[MacRumors]

  • Dailon Huskey

    Just saves people from wasting money on another Nintendo gimmick and by the time they are easy to find the gimmick will have run its course.

    • Ethan Einhorn

      As somebody who owns a PS4, Xbox One, HTC Vive, PSVR, and iPhone 6S, I can say that the Switch is easily the best consumer device I have ever owned. I can assure you, you'd feel very differently if you owned one. It's pure joy, and it will continue on its path to success explicitly because it's not just a gimmick. Playing full scale console experiences on the go - and then being able to continue on your TV at night - is the definition of next generation gaming, IMHO.

    • Holcman

      Hey, I have the Switch, and I'm really enjoying it so far. As someone on a mobile gaming site, you should understand the value of being able to play the game both on TV and easily on the go. There's always someone who calls new things a gimmick, such as the Wii or even the iPhone when it first came out, but judging by its massive sales and success, most people disagree with you. πŸ˜‰

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Don't feed the trolls.

      • Dailon Huskey

        Don't call me a troll. I have visited this site for years and I didn't mean any disrespect in what I said. My mistake may be that I have yet to play switch and commented my opinion on it. I own the wii and wiiu so maybe that made me a bit jaded about the prospects of switch. I will not say anything else about switch until I have played it. but I am no troll and I wasn't trying to piss anyone off.

      • Mariah

        You are a troll. Don't need to be call a troll. You are one.

        You haven't played a switch, yet you're making such brave comments. Thats the definition of a troll. Speaking on something you don't know to incite repsonse and flame war.

      • Dailon Huskey

        I should know better than to comment on this site anyways

      • Michal Hochmajer

        Don't be upset. Even Eli has his days. πŸ™‚
        You have your opinion, that's all. Don't leave.
        I don't think that Switch is a gimmick. Switch games are great but from hardware standpoint...NAY. Maybe second iteration/Switch mini? (comment from my friend)
        Switch is relatively heavy and bulky, has a small screen, battery isn't that great. (my predictions aprox. 9 months ago were precise)
        Playing in handheld mode isn't that convenient, roasting in dock during longer playing session etc.
        Doesn't fit my lifestyle, but who knows.

        Great for people, who want play two hours before bedtime!
        I Like playing with detached joycons in tabletop mode.
        Best machine for local multiplayer.
        Good old times!

        Definitely not a gimmick...just pure Nintendo.

      • Dailon Huskey

        After reading all the comments here I can see why some people like it but I think I'm just burned out on Nintendo hell I was still buying wiiu games then this comes out πŸ™‚
        I have seen rumors that the switch will have final Fantasy and dragon quest games and some other good rpgs so maybe in a year or two I will get it... those games would def go a long ways towards selling me on it

      • Dailon Huskey

        Also Eli for you to just jump to calling me a troll is bs
        I want visit this site again period after years of coming here's you guys act like this F off all of you there are other sites to get this info and I will utilize them

  • HelperMonkey

    Another win for the fidget spinner industry!

  • Sobriquet

    So people buying a Switch from eBay aren't getting ripped off as badly as it seems?

  • Michal Hochmajer

    Basic data about Czech Republic (my homeland):
    A lot of game developers for such a small country.
    Low wages.
    Almost everything is overpriced.

    We have Nintendo Switch (most sellers) since week 2 and very rarely out of stock for 360 bucks.
    I've grabed secondhand Switch (280 bucks with Zelda and screen protector) for good friend of mine.
    Yup, plenty people are selling Switch after playing Zelda.

    Conclusion?
    Carter, if you want, come visit my country before Brexit happens and we can take few rounds around local pubs. πŸ™‚

    Oh, almost forgot what I was writing about.
    You can buy as many Switches as you want.

    • HelperMonkey

      And a chance to drink a genuine Budweiser...

      • Michal Hochmajer

        or any other real local disgusting bitter beer...cheers. πŸ™‚

      • MarsMachine

        I drink Swiss beer. It is near perfection, almost as good as our German neighbours. But Czech beer, man, you Sir, are in beer heaven! And the value for money is much better! 🍻cheers guys!

      • Michal Hochmajer

        Only Swiss things I know is my Swiss knife and Swiss auntie.
        Next time I will visit her, secure your cheese, chocolate and water in Lac LΓ©man. πŸ™‚

        Sending best regards.

  • Drizzt79

    If you're seriously wanting a switch, come and get one in Canada. There are plenty here.

  • curtisrshideler

    Even if we had plenty of them here in the states, I still wouldn't get one until something I really want comes out for it. And with English releases of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest taking up most of my gaming time, it might be a couple years before the Switch catches up. Hopefully, by then, they'll be available though.

    • Michal Hochmajer

      My guess? There will be plenty great games in next 10 months.
      Still hope for games like Dark souls 3, Nier: Automata or Persona 5.

      And mr. Nintendo, release virtual console already, jeez!

    • OrangutanKungfu

      Dragon Quest X and Dragon Quest XI are both coming to Switch! Not to mention Lost Sphear, Octopath, Xenoblade 2, the next Shin Megami Tensei. Plenty of RPG action coming!

  • Dragontears969

    Still doesn't explain why Nintendo Classic Minis are ridiculously hard to find after being out for 6 months. Seems more like Nintendo is slacking and allowing eBayers to make huge profits.
    This is why you should have preorders, Nintendo! That way you get an idea of the interest in your product.

    • kreylix

      Again, scarcity from Nintendo just seems intentional...they've done this for. ever.

    • Luigi_Mario

      The Classic was actually discontinued despite high demand, so eBay profiteering will continue. There wasn't much money for Nintendo to make on a cheap system without any additional games to sell.

  • kreylix

    I wonder how true this is, or if it's just the same old Nintendo shenanigans of the past 20+ years of making their console (or hottest game or two) intentionally out-of-stock to create extra demand. Ask any parent whose tried to buy a top Nintendo product at holiday time over the past 5-20 years or so - we all have tales.

  • ste86uk

    What kind of metal do you listen to? A lot of bands I listen to also releasing vinyl all the time lately

  • rezn

    I got my NES Classic & Nintendo Switch both on launch day or midnight (still launch day) simply by standing in line hours before the crowds. And the crowds were tiny for the Classic but fairly large for the Switch here in Reno. I learned back when the 64 came out and then the Wii that I had to keep an ongoing conversation with Game Stop employees about pre-order dates/times/options. Basically I'd rather stand in line all alone for 4-5 hours to get that pre-order than play my luck at chance. I started getting mentally prepared for the Switch last year. I took the day off work once I knew the launch days as well.

  • bhayes444

    I was interested to know why the Switch has been in short supply. I did end up getting one by just using one of the stock tracker websites. Plus, if people are okay buying bundles for like $500 those seem to have more staying power on shelves than the base console (mostly due to retailers getting higher profits on them).

  • Dawn Stung atoms

    The Switch isn't popular here in the Philippines due to its higher price (ranging from 350 to 450 USD) and the lower standard of living.

  • korkidog

    I managed to get a Switch one month after its release. I saw 2 of them at Wal-Mart on Saturday, so they are slowly trickling into stores. Such a great system!

  • Drewskii

    Does this account for the crap stock of amiibos though

  • gonif

    Plenty of sound reasons to violently yell at my phone already, thanks.