Nintendo's doing better than it has in years, but it still has one huge problem

Nintendo’s doing better than it has in years.

The Japanese game company’s newest console, the Switch, is surpassing even the loftiest sales expectations from analysts. Between April 1 and June 30, the company moved just shy of 2 million Switch consoles — bringing the grand total of worldwide sales up to 4.7 million units, and putting Nintendo on track to sell 10 million Switch consoles in its first year of availability.

Nintendo SwitchNintendoThe Nintendo Switch is both a home console (left) and a portable game console (right). The idea is you can take your games wherever you go.

The updated Switch sales numbers come from Nintendo’s most recent quarterly earning report, which the company released overnight.

All those Switch sales — in addition to two massive hit games in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” — have led to a major increase in revenue: 154.07 billion yen ($US1.37 billion) between April 1 and June 30, 2017. That’s a huge change over the same quarter last year, to the tune of nearly 150%.

But that sales number could be even higher for the Switch, and there’s one major issue getting in the way: People can’t buy one easily.

Since the Nintendo Switch launched in early March 2017, it’s been sold out everywhere. A quick search of Amazon or, more appropriately, GameStop highlights the problem — there are none available (unless you want to pay a premium for one from a re-seller).

No wait list, or way to reserve one, or any solution other than “Keep trying.” And that supply issue is limiting Nintendo’s ability to sell the Switch.

For its part, Nintendo says it’s attempting to increase production of the Switch. “What we are doing, as quickly as we can, is scaling up the production to make more available into the marketplace,” Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aimé told IGN in June. “To get to the point where every consumer who wants a Nintendo Switch can find a Nintendo Switch.”

It’s not clear when Nintendo will catch up with demand — in the case of the Nintendo Wii, for instance, shortages were persistent for years after launch. What is clear is that demand for the Switch is only going to increase as the year barrels toward the holiday season; not only is a huge new “Super Mario” game planned for launch in October, but the holiday sales season will naturally drive up demand for the Switch as a gift.

Whether Nintendo can meet that demand remains to be seen.

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