A 10 percent tax on video game consoles and other consumer electronics has been delayed until December 15, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced today. According to President Trump, the purpose of the delay is to prevent the tariffs from hurting the holiday shopping season.
The next round of tariffs in the Trump administration’s ongoing trade-war with China is set to go into effect on September 1, but following today’s news it will no longer include game consoles like the Xbox One, PS4, or Nintendo Switch. “As part of USTR’s public comment and hearing process, it was determined that the tariff should be delayed to December 15 for certain articles,” the USTR said in a press release. “Products in this group include, for example, cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing.”
“We’re doing this for the Christmas season,” Trump said earlier today when asked about the delays. “Just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers.” The fall and holiday seasons are when many of the biggest games of the year release, and when console manufacturers tend to see a big uptick in the number of new systems sold.
In June, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo sent a joint letter to the USTR saying the proposed tariffs would cause “a ripple effect of harm that extends throughout the video game ecosystem,” arguing the tariffs could cost customers an additional $840 million.
Last November, then-President of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime, told Kotaku the holiday season was “critical” in the company’s race to sell 20 million new Switches. The company went on to sell a whopping 9.41 million Switches during that time period. Under the new tariff, that amount would have resulted in customers spending an additional roughly $282 million.
This is technically the second time Trump has blinked on taxing imported electronics like smartphones and gaming consoles. The original round of tariffs, announced in May, were set to go into effect by the end of June. That deadline was also pushed back after trade talks with China resumed. Only time will tell if this new timeline will also get delayed.