What do you do when you have a product that sells exceptionally well and causes shortages worldwide for months on end? Well, if you’re Nintendo you stop production, apparently!
That’s right, the NES Classic Edition is no longer being shipped to North America. According to IGN a Nintendo representative provided the following statement:
Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability. We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.
This is wrong on so many levels. After Nintendo debuted the new mini-console last summer with a cool advertising campaign and media getting their hands on it, how did they make such a huge misstep in supply versus demand? Everyone seemed to want one of these things and Nintendo seemed to put their fingers in their ears and ignore the signs.
Despite being sold out throughout the holiday season, Nintendo promised it would deliver more systems into the new year and that it wasn’t just a one-shot shipment sort of thing. 2017 hasn’t been too great for finding a system though. Sure they’ve shown up here and there and trickled out to retailers, but this is a product that they could have had stacked on store shelves or on end caps at the registers at Target and Walmart and they would’ve have sold millions. Instead, Nintendo has decided to stop production of the NES Classic Edition and no more will be shipped to North America after this month.
This is even more distressing when you consider that at the end of January Nintendo of Japan’s president, Mr. Kimishima talked about the situation to investors at its Corporate Management Policy Briefing. He didn’t mention any type of discontinuation of the product, and in fact stated the opposite saying they’re working to increase production! Here’s the quote:
In November last year, we brought back the nostalgic Famicom and NES home consoles in palm- sized versions and shipped the entire quantity of Nintendo Classic Mini Family Computer units we initially prepared for each market. We apologize to our consumers and retail partners for the inconvenience caused by product shortages. Some parts require time to procure, but we are working to increase production. We also see the nostalgic interest in these products as an opportunity to draw consumers’ attention to our latest game system, Nintendo Switch.
So, what happened? Where is this increased production and why didn’t retailers receive a bunch of NES Classics? Is it possible that the parts needed for this thing are that hard to come by that they can’t produce more? Or maybe the cost has raised so high that they’d have to raise the suggested retail price? If so, I say it’s better to do that then to completely discontinue the product. Perhaps Nintendo was losing money on this system and it was just a stopgap measure until Switch released. You have to figure that it’s not cheap licensing all of those third party games, but again, raise the price to $99 and throw in an extra controller and call it good if that’s the problem.
The only other curious thing that sticks out is that the statement given to IGN specifically reads, “Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year“, so does that mean that it’s possible it will return in 2018? And if so, what? This whole thing seems like such an unnecessary mess that a company like Nintendo should have been able to avoid. The secrecy and lack of communication around it doesn’t do any good and it would be beneficial if they’d just come out and give a legitimate reason for discontinuing an item that still has a high demand.
For those of you still hoping to find a NES Classic Edition, I truly wish you the best of luck. I hope you can get your hands on one.