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Industry News: To Satisfy Switch Demand, Nintendo Made A Pricey Move: It Put Them On Planes
May 02, 2017

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In advance of the Switch's release, Nintendo reassured fans that it would do its best to meet demand by shipping 2 million units worldwide by the end of March. It ended up shipping quite a few more than that, thanks in part to a bold move we now know it made.

Rather than relying quite so heavily on sea freight, Nintendo also shipped an unspecified number of consoles by air, the Wall Street Journal reports. A company spokesperson said, "We carried some of the Switches by plane in March to serve our customers more promptly." The company has since gone back to shipping systems by sea.

That's an expensive move and one that is, as the report notes, fairly unusual. Ace Research Institute analyst Hideki Yasuda told the WSJ, "Air is a big profit-squeezer because it could cost additional 5,000 yen per unit," which translates to about $45/£35.

Nintendo didn't say where these systems were shipped, though experts cited by the WSJ suggest the US and Europe were likely destinations, as you'd expect.

The Switch has been a hot seller since its launch in early March. GameStop recently said the system has exceeded its expectations so far, with new stock routinely selling out in a matter of hours. (Even the Switch's Pro Controller has been hard to find.)

As noted above, Nintendo delivered more systems in March than previously expected. A total of 2.74 million Switch consoles were shipped by March 31, Nintendo announced as part of its recent earnings report. It said it will ship an additional 10 million Switch units during the current fiscal year, which runs through March 2018.