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Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft breathe easier with Trump tariffs delayed

The big three said tariffs would put consoles “out of reach” for Christmas shopping families

E3 2014 - PlayStation/Xbox hallway Samit Sarkar/Polygon
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The Trump administration’s announcement that it won’t impose new tariffs until after the holiday shopping season is good news for console makers alarmed by the course of the trade war between the United States and China.

The 25 percent tariffs would cover a large spectrum of Chinese-made goods, including many electronics, such as game consoles. The Trump administration yesterday said they would be delayed until Dec. 15, which gives U.S. retailers time to stock shelves for the holidays.

Many video game consoles, peripherals, and other accessories are made in Chinese factories. In June, Nintendo said it was moving some of its Switch production out of China in light of threatened tariffs.

In June, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo gave a seven-page joint statement to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, outlining the size of the video games business and the damage such a tariff could do. Holiday sales were specifically cited in their opposition.

Passing along an estimated $840 million cost to American consumers would likely “put a new video game console out of reach for many American families … this holiday season,” they said. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo also said noted that ripple effects could threaten more than 200,000 American jobs.

The tariffs are part of a larger hardball strategy the administration has taken with China, which includes an ongoing dispute over theft of U.S. intellectual property. Though the three console manufacturers said they appreciated efforts to protect U.S. interests in those matters, “the disproportionate harm caused by these tariffs … will undermine — not advance — these goals.”

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