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Nintendo warns of potential software delays due to remote working

"Since there are indeed big limitations on what can be done from home, we do think this will have a large impact"

The impact of COVID-19 on Switch production is subsiding, Nintendo has said, but the Japanese firm anticipates disruption to the development and release of first-party software.

Speaking to investors, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa addressed the slowdown in Switch production in March and April, due to the impact of COVID-19 on component manufacturing.

"As a result, we are not in a position to be able to produce the full quantity of units we actually want to produce," he said.

"That said, there are signs of gradual improvement, and so we anticipate that the impact of COVID-19 on production will subside to some degree by summer, and that the volume we will be able to produce throughout the year will align with our sales forecast units for this fiscal year."

"Since there are indeed big limitations on what can be done from home, we do think this will have a large impact"

However, Furukawa emphasised that the potential for improvement will disappear if the pandemic "is prolonged or worsens further" -- in which case, Nintendo may not be able to meet its 19 million unit Switch sales forecast for the fiscal year.

He also advised caution over expectations for the company's first-party releases, of which it has several planned for the current fiscal year. The need to work from home among its development teams -- and those of its partners -- could "make it difficult to release titles as currently planned."

"Since there are indeed big limitations on what can be done from home, we do think this will have a large impact," Furukawa said, singling out the absence of any "remote development environment" for Nintendo's Japanese teams in particular.

"But even so, we are gradually gaining experience in assessing what can and cannot be done remotely, and in determining how much progress we can make on the work we are able to do from home.

"Please be aware that the impact on game development in terms of both hardware and software may potentially increase as the amount of time spent working remotely increases."

To prepare for that possibility, Nintendo will focus on promoting existing games that have not reached their sales potential. Furukawa singled out Ring Fit Adventure as one such product.

"We are continuing to manufacture Ring Fit Adventure, and we expect to be able to continue to supply it to the market, albeit gradually. We want to turn that potential demand into actual demand and see steady sales."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.