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Media & Entertainment

Animal Crossing fans rejoice: Nintendo restarts Switch orders

Weeklong freeze on shipments in Japan ends as hit game fuels demand

The "Animal Crossing" series has proved popular during the pandemic. (Image courtesy of Nintendo)

OSAKA -- The Nintendo Switch gaming device will be available once again for Japanese customers to order starting Wednesday, ending the roughly weeklong suspension caused by a surge in demand as home-bound players flocked to runaway hit Animal Crossing.

The Switch, as well as the handheld-only version Switch Lite, will be offered mainly through online sales, according to Tuesday's announcement. Preorders on the proprietary My Nintendo Store will open Wednesday, with deliveries expected between later this month and mid-May.

The release of "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" last month fueled orders for the Switch, just as demand soared with people remaining indoors amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Sales of the game topped 2.6 million units in the first 10 days, more than double the pace of the previous title in the series.

The Kyoto-based company temporarily halted Switch shipments last week, unable to meet the demand. The devices are made by contract manufacturers in China and Vietnam, but operations were below capacity due to the pandemic. As of April 8, used consoles auctioned for an average of 50,574 yen ($469), far above the retail price of 29,980 yen, reports Aucfan, a net auction comparison site.

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