Maybe it's a coronavirus related surge in activity, maybe it's just run-of-the-mill server troubles—either way, Nintendo's online services have been down for a few hours. That means all online features for the Switch, 3DS, and Wii U are currently not working.
Nintendo's official Network Maintenance Information portal says the outage started on Tuesday, March 17 at 1:56 a.m. PT. If you try to access the Nintendo eShop on the Switch, it will try to connect for a while before eventually returning a generic error message. A quick test of checking for a game update served an "unable to communicate with the server" error.
This past weekend, Steam saw a new record high of over 20 million concurrent users while both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network experienced service issues. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed that usage was spiking on Xbox Live; it seems like all three services saw an increase in active users as a result of people self-isolating or quarantining due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Nintendo has yet to provide details on the cause behind its current service outage. USgamer has reached out to a Nintendo spokesperson for comment and we will update this article if we hear back.
Nintendo in particular has already seen other impacts on its business from the spread of the coronavirus. In early February, Nintendo announced that production of Switch peripherals (including the Ring Con for Ring Fit Adventure, which has seen coronavirus-related shortages) would be affected by the outbreak in China. Bloomberg later reported that the US and Europe will likely see shortages of the Switch by April. Nintendo responded to the cancellation of E3 2020 by promising online communication with fans, while also warning that "large industry events may be untenable for the foreseeable future."
On the evening of Monday, March 16, the Nintendo New York store announced it was closing its doors effective immediately. Most of the New York City's major landmarks and tourist attractions are closed to the public, gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned, and other non-essential storefronts are shuttering temporarily.
Nintendo plans on streaming an Indie World presentation later today. This Friday, March 20, will also see the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons—hopefully, by then, service will be restored and folks will be able to celebrate its release together online. For more on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, don't miss Caty's review and be sure to keep an eye on our guides section.