Nintendo Switch and Apple iPhone use the same parts, pitting two giants of industry in a battle to pin down suppliers.
In what might be the weirdest turn of events for Nintendo, their biggest competition is no longer from other game companies but actually from smartphone makers. The Switch, Nintendo’s wildly successful new console, uses many of the same components found in modern phones. Things like NAND flash-memory chips that store data, LCD screens, and the tiny motors used to make both phones and controllers alike vibrate are being gobbled up as quickly as they can be made by manufacturers.
It’s gotten so bad that many are calling it an industrywide shortage of essential digital parts.
According to a spokeswoman at Toshiba Corp. speaking with The Wall Street Journal, “Demand for our NAND flash memory has been overwhelmingly greater than supply, and the situation is likely to stay for the rest of this year.” Toshiba is one of the manufacturers of smartphone and computer components who have seen demand skyrocket due to the massive influx of new smartphones as well as construction of data centers worldwide. The rapid expansion of web-based services are driving demand for computer servers to heights never before seen, and those servers depend on flash memory for their operation.
Continued demand for Apple’s iPhone 7, as well as rising demand for Android based devices are keeping factories running at full capacity to meet production requirements.
As reported in our previous story on increasing Switch production, the official target from Nintendo is 10 million units by the end of next March. However, they acknowledge that if supply side problems didn’t exist they could easily hit close to 20 million units shipped. The conservative 10 million unit estimate seems to keep supply shortages in mind.
Nintendo’s previous console, the Wii U, was considered a flop with less than 14 million units sold in total. The Switch’s success has pushed Nintendo’s share prices to all time highs on prospects of massive sales come the Holiday season. The portability of the Switch means that some families are treating them less as consoles and more like handhelds, requiring each member of the family have one and further increasing demand.
All of us here at TheGamer are certainly hoping these supply shortages are resolved so the Switch can come to everyone that wants one.