Nintendo Explains NES Classic Edition Discontinuation, Confirms 2.3 Million Units Were Sold
Say you're a gaming company that released a brand-new console, a throwback to one of your old hits. Suppose it became an instant rousing hit to the point where a lot of people went out of their way to snag one from any store that had it.
This is great, right? People actually want your product, a demand which you had not expected from the get-go.
What would you do? Keep producing the said console, of course. Keep the consumers happy; give them what they want. If you're Nintendo, however, you're going to kill that product off completely and phase it out of the market all of a sudden. Unfortunately, this is a true story.
Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition back in November, to overwhelming fanfare. Stocks couldn't keep up with demand, so greedy scalpers were setting up shop on eBay, selling units with insane markup prices. Nintendo could have combated this by releasing more units. But no. It had to kill it.
"We had originally planned for this to be a product for last holiday," Reggie Fils-Aimé, Nintendo of America's boss, told Time. "We just didn't anticipate how incredible the response would be."
Nintendo Sold 2.3 Million NES Classic Edition Units
Once it realized that demand went far beyond its expectations, Nintendo added shipments and extended the product for as long as it could. For what was meant to be a holiday product, the NES Classic Edition sold 2.3 million units. That is an impressive number, chiefly for two reasons: first, it's not a new console. Second, with enough knowhow, you can make a console exactly like it using a Raspberry Pi.
It's baffling, to say the least, that a company who knows it's home to some of the biggest gaming icons doesn't know how strong of a pull its classic games have. But of course, Nintendo might actually be coming clean. Maybe the NES Classic Edition was truly meant to be optional, and with the Switch on the way, it couldn't afford to risk producing more NES Classic units that it had originally planned.
To that end, Nintendo apologizes for frustrated gamers baffled by its decision to kill the NES Classic Edition.
It's easy to understand why they're upset: the little plaything is the perfect mini console: it comes in this palm-sized NES enclosure, has a legitimate NES controller, and comes preinstalled with 30 games. All this for $60.
Why Nintendo Killed The NES Classic Edition
So why did it kill the NES Classic Edition? Well, Fils-Aimé says that producing more of it just didn't fit the company's future plans.
"We've got a lot going on right now and we don't have unlimited resources."
SNES Classic Edition On The Way?
So now with the NES Classic Edition officially dead, Nintendo has two options: one, it could forget that this supply-and-demand charade ever happened, or two, it could release an SNES Classic Edition.
Rumors support this possibility. It makes sense, especially now when Nintendo knows how far people will go to get classic versions of its past consoles. It has to hope, however, that people aren't still upset come time they release it.