As I’ve prefaced on many occasions, I’m a huge Nintendo fan. The N64, GameCube, and Game Boy were vital parts of my gaming childhood, and I have Nintendo to thank for that. Lately though, I haven’t been hesitant to call them out for some of there utterly stupid decisions in recent times, especially regarding the Nintendo Switch. And now, we can add another notch to the stupidity ladder, and that’s handling of the NES Classic.
When Nintendo announced the release of the NES Classic, it sent shockwaves not only throughout the gaming world, but the world of pop culture. The original NES was a massive seller in the mid to late 80’s, and ushered many people into their first video gaming experience. To some, the NES Classic would be a source of nostalgia for those who wanted to relive their days of yore, or perhaps introduce their children to the old school 8-bit era. To others, it would be another remix console to add to their game collection. Either way, combined with its $60 price point, the Classic was poised to be a smash hit.
Then, November 16th of last year arrived, and it was clear that Nintendo had screwed up from the get go. Shipping limited amounts of units to retailers, stores like GameStop and Target were given around 5-10 NES Classic consoles, all awhile, they had lines of people waiting to get their hands on one. Selling out across the country almost instantly, it was clear that demand was extremely high, but Nintendo got quite lethargic when it came to replenishing supply. Even with those gaffs, the NES Classic still sold about 1.5 million units in a two month span.
After 2016 came to an end, it was apparent that Nintendo wasn’t motivated in getting as many consoles on store shelves as possible. Speculation was that there was a production issue, which I did not buy. If you look under the hood of the NES Classic, it’s not particular complex, and it’s something that could quickly be massed produced. Other speculation was the Nintendo didn’t want the NES Classic to take any of the spotlight away from the Switch, which is an utterly asinine business strategy to me.
The official nail in the coffin was driven less than two weeks ago when Nintendo announced that the NES Classic would be discontinued, ending an uneventful and frustrating run. What’s so baffling about how this whole release was handled has to do with the current state of Nintendo as a company. Prior to the illusion of success of the Switch, that I believe will not be sustained in the long run, Nintendo was in severe financial distress. Long were the days of the Wii virtually printing money for them, and other than the 3DS, they were losing gobs of dough due to the failure of the Wii U. So after such an overly positive viral response that the NES Classic garnered, most normal corporations would pump out as many of those suckers as possible, especially around Christmas season, and capitalize on the consumer demand.
Overall, the NES Classic should have been a simple, no brainer money maker, but due to Nintendo’s incompetence, that didn’t happen. Hopefully, when the SNES Classic is released sometime in the future, Nintendo learns their lesson, produces a ton of units, in turn, making a ton of money. Because they left a lot of cash on the table, and in consumers wallets, with the mistakes made pertaining to the NES Classic.