In a stunning turn of events, Nintendo’s hard-to-find mini console is going to be even tougher to track down in light of Nintendo discontinuing the NES Classic Edition. In light of the high consumer demand that persists for the console to this day, this is a really bad look for Nintendo and a huge loss for those still trying to get one.
Upon its reveal in 2016, I thought this system was going to do gangbusters. There’s clearly a market for plug-and-play retro gaming devices, and who better than Nintendo to release one? Sadly, Nintendo stumbled out of the gate with supply that fell well short of meeting demand. Based on how simplistic the hardware is, and based on how much quicker Nintendo seems to be able to push Nintendo Switch consoles to market, the low production numbers seemed to be all part of the master plan.
If the plan was for this to just be a stopgap solution for the 2016 holidays, I get it. The Wii U was dead and the Switch wasn’t ready yet. Nintendo had to have something on store shelves, at least to tide games over until the Switch hit. The NES Classic Edition may have hit too well, as its demand has greatly surpassed Nintendo’s modest projections for the console.
Probably wanting to stick with the original plan and focus on the Nintendo Switch, they’re alienating a sizable portion of the player base that still wants to buy the retro console that first hit store shelves six months ago. Many who were originally interested in it probably gave up ages ago, as buying one in the first place has been nigh impossible. Heck, if you were in the market for this and a Switch and haven’t been able to land either of them, you have every right to be irate.
If the plan was to kill this thing all along, then Nintendo should have done more to satiate demand. In a hypothetical world where the people that wanted one by now got one, discontinuing it wouldn’t be such a PR disaster as it currently is. Instead, they’re leaving money on the table and losing the trust of potential customers that have had their sights set on owning an NES Classic Edition for months now. In the end, no one wins from this debacle of a release. Fingers crossed that the lessons they’ve learned from this experience will make future hardware launches a more pleasant experience.