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Nintendo has faced some serious supply shortage issues for its popular Switch console since launching it in March, and Apple may be the one to blame.
The Switch shortages reportedly stem from low supplies of important components like LCD display panels and memory chips — parts that Apple is gobbling up for its own products, industry sources told The Wall Street Journal. According to those sources, the strong consumer-side demand for Apple’s iPhone 7 lineup and manufacturing demand for Cupertino’s upcoming smartphones has left a dwindling supply of critical components for other companies, Nintendo included.
This apparently is due in part to the power that Apple has in the supply chain, since the Cupertino-based company is a massive customer. Because of that fact, Apple’s supply orders are being filled first, forcing other companies to have to “wait in line,” the WSJ reported. Similarly, Nintendo isn’t commenting on why supply hasn’t ramped up, and has instead boasted about the strong demand for the Switch — demand that the company believes will likely remain strong throughout the rest of the year, Fortune reported.
A hybrid device that can move seamlessly between traditional TV and mobile play, the Switch has turned out to be one of the year’s most popular gaming consoles. But the Switch is currently unavailable at many major retailers and new stock quickly sells out. It’s not clear how long Nintendo’s supply woes will last, but the company has stated that it’s working hard to alleviate supply issues. The Journal’s sources suggest that the Kyoto-based company could alleviate some of the issues by spending more on components, but since that move would likely raise the console’s prices, the company seems unwilling to do so.
If Apple is indeed the culprit, things might not be looking up for Nintendo and other companies relying on similar supply chains. Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 8 is expected by some analysts to spur an “upgrade super-cycle” due to extremely high demand.