Late last year, Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition, a $60 miniature game console with 30 classic Nintendo games on it. I never got one - in fact, I’ve never seen one.
Every time I’ve looked for one, the shelves have been empty. It’s not just me, either - the NES Classic has been in short supply all around the country.
I hope if you wanted one, you got it, because last week Nintendo very quietly discontinued the device. They didn’t give a reason, and a lot of people are confused. This product was wildly popular, and supply never caught up with demand for the system. Why would Nintendo stop making this hardware that was practically printing money for them?
Repeatedly, Nintendo has said that they were surprised by the demand for the NES Classic, but it really shouldn’t have been - giving a generation of gamers 30 games that they likely hadn’t spent time with in years, at a price that lends itself to an impulse buy is a home-run idea. Nintendo mentioned to several outlets that the NES Classic was always intended to be a limited-release product, although they never mentioned this before discontinuing it.
So, what is Nintendo up to? Well, chances are, it is refocusing all their manufacturing capacity on producing their new Switch console, which is similarly hard to find. The Switch makes them more money, and with new games like Mariokart 8 Deluxe coming out soon, demand is going to spike again.
However, with the success of the NES Classic, I’d also guess that Nintendo is gearing up for new classic consoles, too. Either a new NES Classic with a wider selection of games, or - and this would be more exciting for me - a Classic Edition Super Nintendo. I was interested in the NES Classic, but a Super Nintendo Classic might have games like Super Mario World, Street Fighter II, Yoshi’s Island, and Donkey Kong Country. These are really the games that I grew up with, and I’d be most excited to have these on tap to play.