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Why is it so hard to buy a Nintendo Switch in lockdown?

por Mia Goldman (2020-05-25)

On the list of essentials that have cropped up in the coronavirus pandemic have been clippers to trim unruly hair, huge bags of pasta, streaming TV services and - for many - a return to computer gaming to escape reality.

And amongst all that, it's Nintendon turn to rise again. It has been one of the main beneficiaries with a surge in popularity for its games console as if the 1980s and 1990s never left us.

A large chunk of my youth was spent playing Nintendo consoles. First a gateway Gameboy, followed by a Super Nintendo and finally, an N64, with superb controllers and 3D graphics.

 (Editor, Simon Lambert, who has a few years on me, also feels the need to give an honorary mention to the original NES here.)

I still have the first and third on my list, but unfortunately, I lost the SNES somewhere down the line: a shame, in my non-expert gaming opinion, it's the most enjoyable console to ever have lived and I occasionally pine after it.

Mario time: The lockdown has seen a surge in Nintendo Switch gamers, as a way of escaping reality 

But Nintendo - a Japanese gaming giant - lost its way a little bit. In the early 2000s, Gamecube was overshadowed by the Playstation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox. 

Yet, like all great stories, Nintendo has bounce back. Repeatedly. 

The Wii was briefly hugely popular in the late 2000s, then people lost interest in the gimmick of being the controller.

Meanwhile, Nintendo was also instrumental in the phenomeon of Pokemon Go - a craze that burnt brightly, sent its share price briefly soaring, and then somewhat fizzled out.

A year later, at a pressure point in its history - squeezed by its Sony and Microsoft rivals, which had embraced online multiplayer gaming - in 2017, Nintendo launched the Switch. 

Nobody really knew whether Nintendo would pull this off, but in various forms, it has already outsold the SNES. By the end of 2019, it had shifted 52.5million consoles - and this is likely to be up a fair few million since. 

It's fair to say, the Switch has been a huge hit and could well end up being its highest selling console of all time. And, now, in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown, the Switch is doing even better than before.





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The USP is that it can be played on the go as a handheld console (not a must need for most right now) and also at home plugged in through the TV, with games saved in-between so you don't lose progress. 

It has been one of the great success stories of the coronavirus lockdown. They are largely sold out across Britain and other countries - with listings on online marketplaces at up to three times the original price.

Amazon UK, for example, ?????? had fresh stock on Thursday. Within hours, it was gone. 

And it's not just Britain. A friend of mine in California says he recently sold his Switch, with two games and a Ringfit device (which adds an exercise element to the Switch) to a buyer desperate for the device for $700, having amassed all the elements for $400.

Meanwhile, as manufacturers around the world cut back, Nintendo has had to upscale production in a bid to keep up with demand, which has been tricky given the fact the majority of the consoles are made in China. 

What is driving this surge towards gaming and Nintendo? Consumer Trends takes a look.

Popular: How the Nintendo Switch soared in popularity in 2019 - could this year and the lockdown mean even stronger sales?

Nintendo is family friendly and simple to play
Last year, on my stag do, my best man brought his Switch - and after a huge night out, we got back in and played Mario Kart. 

It instantly transported me back to my childhood. Late nights, as a teenager, playing Mario and university years playing Mario Kart with friends. It is likely it has the same appeal to those in their 20s, 30s and 40s currently snapping one up.

Mario Kart is a classic - and I must have played it on five different Nintendo machines. 

The appealing thing, to me, is that it is cartoonish and a complete escape from reality. In contrast with the realistic shoot em' up games that dominate other consoles.