The Shortage of the Nintendo Switch and the Rise of Animal Crossing

The Shortage of the Nintendo Switch and the Rise of Animal Crossing


The Nintendo Switch came out in March 2017, but as quarantine measures took place all over the world this year, the Switch has become sold out in stores like GameStop, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. Even if they are available on sites like Amazon, prices are soaring over $500, compared to the original price of $299 (the Switch Lite, however, remains in stock). So why has the Nintendo Switch suddenly become so hard to get?

One of the most significant factors has been the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Nintendo is a Japanese brand, most of their products are made in China (this is the case with many brands in Japan). The COVID-19 pandemic first started out in China, and subsequently the government has closed their factories as early as late January. While they are slowly reopening, this has still reduced the number of Nintendo Switches that are able to be produced. 

Not only has supply gone low, but now that so many countries have put down quarantine measures, people are naturally looking for entertainment at home. Even before these measures were taken, around 40 to 50 million Switches were still being sold worldwide per month (“Global Unit Sales of Nintendo Switch Console 2017-2020,” Christina Gough,, May 15, 2020).

So, with low supply and higher demand it is natural to see an increase in price. This has also led to third-party sellers on eBay and Amazon increasing the price drastically, knowing that so many people want a Switch but are unable to get one from major retailers.

Another factor in the increase in demand of the Switch has been the rise in popularity of the game Animal Crossing, particularly the newest edition New Horizons (2020) which can only be played on the Nintendo Switch. New Horizons is one of 5 released versions of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, with the first coming out in 2001. Animal Crossing New Horizons begins when Tom Nook, a raccoon businessman, invites you to an island and sells players a tent. Players are able to upgrade their home slowly, as they pay off their debts by selling whatever they collect on the island, including insects, fish, shells, and more. With simple activities like fishing, gardening, and fruit gathering, Animal Crossing is known to be a relaxing game. Anna Moore commented, “what I like about Animal Crossing New Horizons is just how simple and rewarding it can be… you start with a small tent on a deserted island and you can turn it into your own city all by yourself.” Many have gone to social media to display their own cities and islands. With multitudes of furniture, wallpaper, and flooring, endless customizable designs, island terraforming, and over 390 villagers with unique looks, Instagram posts about Animal Crossing can be immediately recognized.

The series was already popular beforehand and since the newest edition was eight whole years, fans have long anticipated New Horizons. Student Deidre Payne said, “I think what led so much to its popularity is its massive history and the past editions of the game.” Many have played Animal Crossing since their childhood and New Horizons reminds them of when they were young, bringing back nostalgic memories. The timing of New Horizons’ release has also come just at the right moment for newcomers where they can spend time in quarantine. 

It will be interesting to see how stay-at-home and quarantine measures will affect the popularity and sales of the Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing. Already, certain states have begun to open as people are getting concerned for the economy, but no one knows the true extent of the effects of COVID-19 or how long it will be until it is safe to go out in public freely again.