Coronavirus Outbreak Delaying the Next Nintendo Direct?

coronavirus outbreak closes japanese school in nintendo logo
  • Nintendo already backordered popular items made in China
  • The coronavirus outbreak shut down all Japanese schools until April 8th
  • Most of Nintendo’s first-party development occurs in Kyoto

Last month, Nintendo released a statement about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on hardware production. Popular items, such as Ring Fit Adventure, were backordered amid the temporary closure of Chinese manufacturing sites. While Nintendo has not released an update, the company could be facing a new problem: All Japanese schools are closing for the next 40 days. With the bulk of the company’s first-party development located in Kyoto, Nintendo’s plans for 2020 are likely in flux.

Closer to Home

The Financial Times reported on Thursday that all Japanese schools will close until April 8th amid the fears of the coronavirus outbreak. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had these words in response to the decision:

We need to place top priority on the health and safety of our children, and take measures to stem the risk of many children and teachers becoming infected through gathering for long hours every day.

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

This move impacts over 13 million Japanese students and parents who will have to take time off work to care for their families. While it is possible for some employees to work remotely, it is safe to assume that school closures will slow video game development for studios. But the challenging part for Nintendo is that all first-party developers are located in Japan with the exception of Retro Studios. Below is a list of notable Nintendo’s first-party studios that are located in Japan:

Monolith SoftZelda, Splatoon, Pikmin
Game FreakPokemon, Mario
GrezzoZelda, Luigi’s Mansion
Intelligent SystemsFire Emblem, Paper Mario
Next Level GamesLuigi’s Mansion 3
Sora Ltd.Kid Icarus, Super Smash Bros

Anticipated Nintendo Direct Announcements

While fans received an Animal Crossing update earlier this month, most were hoping for a full Direct. Based on the list of studios affected, it is easy to see why Nintendo is delaying any new announcements.

  • Monolith Soft has still not announced a release date for Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition.
  • In addition, Monolith Soft is working on the Breath of the Wild sequel and a new IP.
  • While Sakurai revealed the next Smash fighter pack, Sora Ltd. was likely to reveal a new DLC fighter.
  • Although Intelligent Systems released the Fire Emblem story DLC, rumors are that they are working on another Paper Mario game.
  • Finally, Next Level Games is still working on more Luigi’s Mansion 3 DLC.

While Japanese schools remain closed for the next 40 days, the development from the aforementioned studios is in flux. The result is that Nintendo is likely delaying the next Direct to ensure that release dates, game trailers, and presentations are solidified before announcing any new content.


But we want to know what you think. Do you think that Nintendo is holding off on publishing a Direct as a result of the coronavirus? Is the Animal Crossing limited edition Switch model in danger of becoming backordered? Let us know what you think in the comments below or the social media links on the right. Be sure to check out our other news items on SmashPokemonModern Warfare, and more. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay on top of all the latest.

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